A while ago, I went to a farewell lunch with a group of teachers. They're already a, so when the wine started flowing, everyone got louder and more .
Afterof us had left, an elderly gentleman who had been dining with his wife at a table approached the remaining teacher. She apologised for the of our group, but instead of being annoyed, the man said something . He expressed his at what would bring such a " , attractive group of women" together. We were clearly having a great time and he wanted to know more about us. "We're teachers," said my .
And what a group of teachers -- of people -- they are. I remember looking at everyone at the table and thinking how,how our jobs can be, here we each other's energy. The teachers I've worked with this year have been inspiringly smart, , warm and full of life. Perhaps there's something about being a teacher that makes you . And perhaps this sparkle shows -- especially after a few drinks.
For years, I avoided teaching. This was partly due to not wanting toyet another "foreigner teaching English in Japan." I the friends who were at teaching, especially those who successfully ran their own schools. Then there were others who teaching . The "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach" me for years. I wanted to be someone who could.
I somehow managed to find non-teaching jobs in Japan. I enjoyed these jobsand loved the people I worked with. Eventually however, I needed to see that my work was making a positive difference in someone's life. And when I thought long and hard about what made me feel alive, all I could think of was the time I was a teaching intern. I recalled students laughing when they learned a clever way to remember something, or when their faces were completely blank because I explained something badly. Teaching both in and out of the classroom.
the earlier saying, teachers can, do and have to do a lot. As a teacher, you never really stop planning. You'll be reading the newspaper and you'll suddenly find something that you know your students will be challenged and stimulated by. As a teacher, you're never really -- one of my workmates was once stopped in the street by a student who asked her to check the spelling of a tattoo.
It's funny how things. Earlier this month, I returned to Japan to work. This time, as a teacher. And this time, I'm prouder than ever to be one. I look forward to my next Japan adventure -- may it be louder and more hilarious than the last.
The Japan Times ST: October 18, 2013