[quote=“Whole Lotta Lotta”]
One thing that keeps me in Taiwan is that I actually do like teaching when it is going well. Their is nothing more rewarding than seeing children learn things when you taught them. I think there are some students who are better for having had me and I am better for having met them.[/quote]
Whole Lotta Lotta: Having great students truly makes teaching a joy. Then again, I wonder if those great students don’t deserve better than me. For me, the despair in teaching comes from the great mass of apathetic kids in the middle who seem to be just trying to get through each day. If I think back to my own school days, I can still remember the names of the outliers at either end of the spectrum, both in terms of behaviour and results. Yet there’s a huge mass of faceless, nameless guys I went to school with. I have great difficulty understanding and empathising with the faceless, nameless middle. Even when I’m opposed to them, I can appreciate the variously good, bad and ugly because they seem to have an energy and a direction, and they offer some sort of response. I don’t know to what extent other teachers struggle with this, but I think it’s a deep problem I have with teaching driven by my world view in which I have real contempt for mediocrity and just cannot fathom those who cannot help but blend into the crowd. I think this ultimately makes me unsuitable for mainstream teaching.
For me, I am really just biding my time to a certain extent. I have a fairly reasonable net worth, at least for my own living costs and needs. I’m largely trying to live well within my means, save additional money (and invest it) and then teach for the next ten to fifteen years and then get out, or at least be able to pick what I do much more carefully. Living outside of the developed world, this is possible. Teaching certainly isn’t something I plan to make a career out of. I would consider it a waste of my life if I spent it labouring over the banal with the mediocre and the apathetic. That’s not to say that I don’t try to do what I do well – I consider it a moral imperative to do so – but just that I really don’t think it makes that much of a difference. Maybe far duller people than me would even make better teachers simply because they could relate to the students more.