Rob's Rambling

So There I Was (Part 1)

Posted by Rob February 25, 2009, under South Africa | 3 Comments

So there I was, a newborn teacher.

I'd led a quiet (and I would like to think Good) life so I thought I should be due a little rest and relaxation after long hours and years at the corporate grindstone that makes up so many of our lives.

Don't get me wrong - my wife is a teacher and I know exactly how much they/I/we work but the demanding pace of a 7-5 job at a multinational is surely a little more twitch inducing than spending a few hours every day trying to cram little tidbits of available knowledge into children. Right? Right?

Turns out that that's the first misconception I was forced to leave at my last job.
Perhaps a little background is in order.

I've worked in various sectors during my life and none of them have been particularly rewarding. Working for multinationals, I began to have the feeling that my net effect on the world was allowing a man in Sweden buy yet another Mercedes Benz. Not exactly a candidate for Sainthood.

Still, I battled through my seemingly meaningless days with what I think you'd agree is above average courage (read: the money was good). I smiled at appropriate times, whistled while I worked - I even made coffee for other people if the mood took me to do so.

And yet, nothing seemed to hold me there. I worked for a Company sure but did I ever feel like I was part of it? Part of something greater than myself? Not a bit of it.

I'm convinced that it's the daily confrontation with your own secret thoughts that bring out the doubter in you. If I'd somehow managed to convince myself that money was everything I imagine I'd never have felt anywhere near the level of boredom, angst and annoyance that I did.

Something about the way the company gears would grind relentlessly on day-in and day-out without taking the slightest notice of anything more socially conscious than a rather more environmentally friendly plastic mould poked and prodded at me until I felt I couldn't take any more. I began to look around for other careers - something clearly in IT (since that was my field of expertise) and possibly even something in another city - working entirely on the maxim "The grass is always greener" seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now, bear in mind that this was just at the cusp of the looming economic recession. A couple of our customers had already cut back on orders by up to 40% so I wasn't really hoping for a job offering me untold riches - something personally rewarding, something to challenge me was all I wanted.

Let me tell you astute reader (if I haven't bored you to death yet) that I found that job. I found it in the most unlikely place - somewhere I hadn't really even entertained as an idea before.

Words cannot begin to describe the amazing difference Teaching has made in my life - I'm happier, less stressed and I feel every day that I'm making some sort of difference in a child's life - perhaps even a future leader of our country.

The money isn't great but really, who needs the latest hardware, software or even the best food? Not I - I've moved onto something a little more metaphysical: the light of comprehension beaming from a child's face when I've managed to show them something new and exciting, the joy of being able to reach a child who seemed particularly difficult and the knowledge that I have in some way made an impact on the world.

So there I was. Happy, fulfilled and ultimately satisified with my current life choice. It's week 5 and I'm still going strong.

To be continued...

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Currently have 3 Comments

  1. Hmm... Look, i take my hat off to you for you choice.. i might not agree with it. In fact, i didn't when you made it.

    But i am VERY VERY happy for you.

    I'd hope that more teachers felt the way you do. One day, when i have that perfect child, i hope she is fortunate enough to have teachers with the passion you have written here.

  2. So glad you're enjoying teaching, and I agree absolutely with your views on doing things that might benefit others. I felt very similar when I left industry for NGO work. Of course I now doubt the good that NGOs do for the world.

  3. FissionChips says:

    What a beautiful read. Thank you. I’m moved.
    Moved, (and heartened) by your choice to choose a job with meaning. Moved by the fact that you have chosen to make a difference. Moved by your obvious happiness.
    Lucky, lucky kids.

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