The Balance: a gentle reminder

Hello friends, I’m back at last!  Been meaning to come back here for quite awhile now, but somehow never found the time.  Or when I did find the time, I lost the inspiration!  That happens! :)

The other night, while I was enjoying a calmer-than-usual night after an exhausting day, Suzannah said to Teacher Sue, “Actually, where do you draw the line between being a teacher in heart and soul and taking care of yourself?”  I never really thought about that before.  We teachers are passionate people.  We pour our heart and soul into doing what is best for the children.  Nothing (it seems, at least) is too troublesome for us to manage, work out, prepare and carry out if it would benefit the children.

What brought this muse about was a request I sorely wanted to grant.  A parent called to ask me, “Won’t you please take my child and tutor him through his primary school years?  He knows you, and you know him, and he works well with you.  You can teach him things I cannot.  And it is difficult to find another teacher who would teach the way you do.”

I am not so deluded and arrogant as to imagine that I am such a good teacher. :)  In fact, I firmly believe that I have much wanting as a teacher (we will always have room for improvement, isn’t it?!).  However, I knew that what the mother said is true:  I do have a great working relationship with that child; I do teach differently from most other tutors; and it can be difficult to find committed and experienced tutors these days.  Still, much as I wanted to grant her request (and similar requests in the past), I had to turn it down.

My reason?

I believe that for us teachers to be up to optimum performance as a teacher (and that includes attitude, passion and commitment too, not just skill!), we must take care of themselves.  While I can probabaly squeeze another student (ie, open another class) into my already demanding schedule, I had to consider what it would do to my attitude towards teaching, my personal commitment and my enthusiasm.  No matter how enthusiastic we are as teachers, working under overload always diminishes our zeal and consequently our teaching performance.

It isn’t easy to say no, and turn down a parent’s request.  Many of us teachers know where parents stand and their difficulties… and most of us sympathise with them too!  But in the long run, it’s sometimes best for everyone, for us to say no.  So, it’s a balance; one that many of us teachers have to face often.

So just a gentle reminder for my fellow professionals:  teachers, do take care of yourselves! :)  In the long run, it’s better for you and better for the children too!

Until next time, take care and all the best!  Thank you for reading!


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