Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Feeling The Teacher's Angst

The minute I leave my last class before the weekend, I experience pure joy. This is a state of sweet freedom when my heart is filled with carefree energy. I call this sensation, which lasts for several hours, my weekly mini vacation.  I have to say that I do like my job and I especially like my students, but lately when I teach on Sundays, the first work day  of the week, my Sunday blues starts on Saturday afternoon.

 I have always felt that I wasn’t meant to be a teacher, however,  reflecting on my life choices, I become more and more convinced that  teaching has always been my true vocation.

I have started teaching as a teen ager and have never stopped. When my girls were young and learnt to play an instrument in the Suzuki method, I was their home teacher. I practiced the violin and the cello with them for years. When my older daughter was two and a half  I started with another mother a Sunday school program for children and their parents so that they all enjoy some Jewish education.

Although I did well teaching in informal settings, where I usually volunteered, I was a complete failure when I tried to join the formal school system. When we returned  to Israel I started teaching high school English. I am embarrassed to admit that after only one week  I understood  that this was not a job which I could do.  I was never  good at disciplining and had to quit.

I have been teaching at a college for almost twenty years; I was lucky to find a good position and was happy that I could enjoy teaching without  worrying about discipline.

But in the last few years things have changed; different political priorities have led to budget cuts and those resulted in much larger classes. Class management, which is the polite word for disciplining has become a real challenge, especially when teaching a foreign language. I don’t want to be strict with my students, it is not their fault. Cramped 40 students in a small room they are the true victims of a changing system.  But as for me, imagining myself tomorrow standing in front of them and try to command their wondering attention,  I realize that, today more than ever, I have a good reason to feel a teacher’s  angst

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