Those Who Can, Teach

Truth is, I never wanted to be a teacher. I was made to think that teaching is a musician’s way of copping out. The path of cowardly composers and spineless pianists. You can’t, therefore you teach.

Five years ago, however, clarity set in. I gravitated towards teaching. I just couldn’t stop my feet from walking that road; and the road is paved with unpaid overtime, ungrateful young minds and often unsupportive administrators.

There are days like today when I feel like I never want to step inside a classroom again. One against forty. Armed with a piece of chalk and a CD player that barely works. A teacher is such a vulnerable creature. Can you blame them if the once bright-eyed and hopeful turns into terrors or drones? I can’t. Everyday I teach is a roller coaster ride. One snide remark from a sullen student can bring a whole day’s worth of highs to a crashing low. If, at the end of a very long day, a smile comes my way, it’s a soothing balm. A compliment, deliverance.

Four years into my major in UP, my professor asked me what my problem was. I said I didn’t feel the same way about music as I did when I was younger. I said I felt I no longer “love it enough”. The portly composer bristled: “You think I write music because I ‘love’ it? I don’t. I make music because I have to. Love doesn’t even enter the picture.”

I didn’t get it then. Now I do. But not about composing. Teaching: I just have to do it. Love doesn’t enter the picture.

But sometimes when I hear my students still singing even after I step out of their classroom, or see them rehearsing during recess, or listen to them come up with things I never even thought of, I become grateful for the turning of my feet towards this gravelly path. I shrug off thoughts of “what could have been” and make no room for regret. Into the picture enters love, and, more often than not, love hangs around.


6 thoughts on “Those Who Can, Teach

  1. ET says:

    Those last 2 (3) paragraphs are beautiful. That’s how I feel about writing as well. I write not because I love it or want to, but because I have to.

    Thank you for putting into words what many teachers must feel.

    Teaching is a calling, not just a job you take. If you aren’t called, you shouldn’t do it. You’ll just be miserable, spiteful, and mean.

    But like any job, there are days you will hate it and days you will love it. Hopefully, the days you love it far outnumber the days you hate it!

    Thank you! I’m glad you said “there are days you will hate it and days you will love it”. Sometimes I forget that that’s just how things are and hating it (at least for some days) doesn’t mean I’m not being a good teacher. I appreciate your comments. I’ve seen your blog at Eileen’s and I plan to read that entry of yours that she cited. 🙂 I’ll be seeing you!

  2. […] the blogosphere trying to find my way and I got lost.  So I happened to click on someone’s website and found this lovely little quote: “I said I didn’t feel the same way about music as I did […]

  3. Repairman says:

    I jumped over here after seeing Eric’s post for today. Glad I did.

    Doing what you have to do never stops. After I retired from the classroom, I had to become a board member and teach teachers.

    I’ll look forward to reading more of your views!

    Teachers need teachers, too. It makes them humble and reminds them what their students could be going through. Thank you so much for dropping by and sharing!:)

  4. Repairman says:

    I should clarify…I don’t mix board work and professional development! Two different hats. 🙂

    LoL! I wondered about that. I’m glad you can separate the two. I’m sure the teachers appreciate it! 😀

  5. elementaryteacher says:

    I think teaching is one of the most important professions on the planet. After all, what we are doing each day is creating little people–forming and shaping the next generation who will take over the world. I know that every day I’m making a difference in the world, in someone’s life. So what if you can’t reach all the students–you reach as many as you can. Even if you are that special teacher for only ONE student, and you really made a difference THAT student’s life, that is something. Everyone gets tired and burned out, but if you have real motivation for being in teaching, you can get through it.

    I can tell you are a fantastic teacher, and I know you are reaching your students.

    Best regards,

    Thanks for the words of inspiration, Eileen.

  6. I forgot to mention that I am also seeking a vocal coach in Manila.

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