A ‘rewarding’ challenge.

What does it mean to have a ‘rewarding’ job? To me, ‘rewarding,’ does not have anything to do with money or tangible items. It means ‘fulfilment,’ in some way or another. With this in mind, I would like to share something beautiful from my work life this week.
 
As a teacher, it is not always easy to get a proper night or day’s rest. The ‘teaching’ part of the job is simple enough; it is the rest of the job that involves extra enthusiasm and determination. In my spare time, I am prepping for lessons, correcting, asking or answering questions, talking to students and staff/administration, dealing with interruptions or students in need, etc. In addition to my 40 hour workweek teaching adult education, I have also taken on a second teaching position for ESL at night, for an extra 6 hours a week. My 46 hour workweek does not take into consideration all of my prep work and lesson planning, which can take 5-10 hours a week, depending on the week. I am not complaining…I love my job, but emotional exhaustion plays a large role on my energy level.
 
With all of the chaos lately, I have not had much time to sit down and relax. This morning, my class was completely disrespectful. Many students arrived 30-40 minutes late to my two hour class, and 5 students were on their phones and disrupting my class for a lot of the time. I left that morning class feeling let down and hurt. I always try to find new ways to incorporate technology into my classroom, but sometimes it doesn’t work as expected.
 
Instead of sulking and being negative, I went into my second class with a smile and a new idea in mind. I told my students that I wasn’t having a great day and I started the class on a positive note. Every student in my second class worked extra hard and not ONE student took out his or her phone.
 
At the end of the class, when everyone was mostly gone, two students stayed behind. One student said: “Miss, I know it has only been 4 weeks so far, but I wanted to say that you have really helped me to improve my writing. I can’t believe I can actually write…and write WELL!” At which point, the other student chimed in and said “I would like to add that you are the kind of teacher that anyone can understand. You explain things in great detail and you are clear, and I thank you for that.” Needless to say, I teared up after hearing these comments. It was so heartfelt to hear this from my students.
 
So, what does ‘rewarding’ mean to me, then? A rewarding job means to feel fulfilled, like I have done a good job, and that I will continue to positively influence the lives of my students and my own life in return. Today, I feel rewarded as a teacher. I will cherish moments like these, because I am sure that there will be more challenging days in the future, and I am sure that there will also be even MORE motivating moments that can change my outlook on those challenging days.
 
When all is said and done, the good outweighs the bad, and you can always find it in your day, if you look hard enough.
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