Lately, I’ve been meeting or chatting with my former students who have made a mark in their own fields and it makes me so proud to have been part of their lives. Former students who come up to me and say “thank you for being my teacher” make me so happy and fulfilled.
You see, I never really dreamed of becoming a teacher. For me, it was just a coincidence that I needed a job and (luckily) MSU gave it to me. I was even reluctant but I grabbed it anyway because at that time, I needed money – which is not a very nice motivation to do something.
I wasn’t really equipped with the proper tools for me to become an effective teacher. I didn’t have any Education background (although I come from a family of teachers). I only had an idea of how to teach based on how my former teachers taught me. From being a college student, I became an instant college instructor – who had to pretend that I knew what I was talking about. Maybe I was a slightly good actress, an impostor, because some of my students believed in me. But I knew, deep down inside, that I wasn’t who I pretend to be. I was a bit insecure, not so sure about myself, I knew I had to get more training and experience to qualify as an “IT Professor” in a state university.
I knew that my good grades in college wasn’t enough. My students deserved more. But at that time, I had to teach – in the best way I knew how. I could say I did my best to give to my students what I had. Through the years, I learned that it was better to “inspire” my students to explore more and discover their potential. It was crucial for me to motivate them, at least push them in the right direction. I knew I could not give them everything they needed, a little inspiration could do more.
I am glad that I think I did that. Somehow, I made a difference in the lives of a few of my students. Not all of them may be great in the IT field, but they are still doing well in their own chosen careers. My heart beams with pride for their success. I am the “motherly” type of teacher. I feel good when I know that some of my students are better than me. And most of the time, I really encourage them to do better and excel. Unlike other instructors who get insulted by questions from smart kids or “compete” with their students, I like making my students feel that I appreciate and believe in their potential.
To all my former students, thank you for teaching me a lot of things in and out of the classroom. Thank you for making me a part of your life and for making me proud to be your mentor. 🙂