“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I have always been very good with numbers since I was little, particularly in maths and accounting. Even though I scored A for all of the tests in my SPM years ago, I secretly told myself that I will never do accounting again for the rest of my life. But reality, as usual, wins. I ended up continuing my studies in CPA, and without surprise, passed all the papers in the first attempt. Before you start thinking that this article is about me bragging about my achievements, NO IT’S NOT! Quite the contrary, I want to tell you that the grades mean nothing, that certificates mean nothing, the compliments and opinions from your teachers / parents / friends mean nothing!
After ‘drowning’ in piles of papers and numerous miserable days in accounting jobs for 5 years, I have decided that this is not what I want in my life. I can’t foresee myself sitting behind the desk helping others to manage their finances for the next 30 years, no, not even 5 years. The book I read back then, titled ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change the World’ by John Wood further convinced me to take the leap in career changing. So, after much struggling, I resigned from the corporate world and dived into education, more specifically, the early childhood education world. Was it scary? Hell yea! But was it worth it? HELL YEA!
I have always had a thing with children, especially toddlers. Anyone who knows me, knows this. Yet, it does not make it easier to maneuver in the field of education. We are now talking about dealing with hundreds of people, almost all at the same time. Firstly, the children. You have to know their personalities, family backgrounds, likes and dislikes, any forms of allergies, ways of communication, academic and behavioral levels. Then, on a daily basis, you have to know if they finish their snacks and water, how many bottles of water they drink, did they poop (yes, this too), did they do their work properly, did they forget to bring something, did they hit / push anyone, did they behave differently, did they etc. All of a sudden, I became a mother of 20 children (and 80 other ‘not-my-own-children’).
That’s not the end.
Next, I have the parents to deal with. This is the most challenging part, because adults are much harder to deal with than children. Parents have their expectations, and the ‘deadliest’ expectation that I cannot accept personally is to fully educate their children on their behalf (because they have paid you). Parents are the best teacher, and always will be. I cannot stress this enough. I will have a write-up about this topic soon, please have a lookout. Then, comes the boss. This is equally as difficult to handle as the parents, but it depends on the type of boss you are working with, it varies from person to person. As with every other company, the boss will always have the final say. So if the boss wants to change the syllabus (halfway through the semester), or expects a quick result in making sure all the children behave (and be quiet) in a week’s time, or bans the ideas you have carefully planned and thought out for an event and the event is happening next week, it can be really physically and mentally challenging.
So, what is so fun and satisfying to become a ‘mother’ of 20? When they walk into the school saying “Good morning, teacher S!” with a wide smile on their angelic faces, when they say “I love you, teacher S!” out of the blue, when they laugh at all the little things, when they make mistakes and learn from them, when they help each other, when you see them grow. I learned so much from them, but I sum it all up into three phrases. Happiness is simple. Laughter is a gift. Simplicity is a way of life.
A friend once said “An educator is not just a regular job, it is a profession that influences lives of others.” This is especially true, everything begins with education, just ponder upon this for a moment. John Wood, the author of the book I read and also the founder of Room to Read, and his team have helped 10 million children in their literacy program. They have also helped in building more than 1,000 schools. Just imagine if one person can do so much to change the education world, what would the world become if 100 more people like him do the same thing as he did.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”