Teaching​—The Satisfaction and the Joy

“What keeps me going? Although teaching can be difficult and exhausting, seeing children all excited about learning and seeing their progress is what motivates me to carry on.”​—Leemarys, a New York City teacher.

IN SPITE of all the challenges, setbacks, and disappointments, millions of teachers worldwide persevere in their chosen profession. And what motivates thousands of students to strive to qualify to be teachers when they know that they may not receive adequate recognition? What keeps them going?

Inna, a Russian schoolteacher, explained: “It is a wonderful experience to see your former students as adults, to hear them express that what they learned from you proved to be worthwhile. It is so encouraging when they say that they have fond memories of the years they spent with you.”

Giuliano, a teacher quoted in preceding articles, said: “One of the greatest satisfactions is realizing that you have succeeded in stimulating the pupils’ interest in a subject. For example, after I had explained a point of history, some students said: ‘Don’t stop. Tell us more!’ These spontaneous expressions can light up a gray morning in school because you realize that you have aroused emotions in the youngsters that are new to them. It’s great to see their faces when their eyes light up because they have understood a subject.”

Elena, a teacher in Italy, stated: “I believe that satisfaction is found more often in the small everyday things, in the pupils’ little successes, rather than in earth-shattering results, which seldom materialize.”

Connie, an Australian in her early 30’s, said: “It is very rewarding when a student with whom you have bonded academically takes the time to write a letter expressing appreciation for your efforts.”

Oscar, from Mendoza, Argentina, shared the same sentiment: “It makes me feel that it is all worthwhile when my students meet me on the street or elsewhere and show appreciation for what I have taught them.” Angel, of Madrid, Spain, said: “The greatest satisfaction for me, having dedicated part of my life to this wonderful but difficult profession, is, without a doubt, to see young ones I have taught become upright men and women, in part as a result of my efforts.”

Leemarys, quoted at the outset, said: “I really feel that teachers are a special breed. We  are also a little crazy for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference​—be it with ten children or just one—​you did your job, and there is no nicer feeling. You do it with joy.”

Have You Thanked Your Teachers?

Have you, as a student or parent, ever thanked a teacher for the time, effort, and interest shown? Or even sent a thank-you note or letter? Arthur, of Nairobi, Kenya, made a valid point: “Teachers thrive on commendation too. The government, parents, and students should highly esteem them and their services.”

Author-teacher LouAnne Johnson wrote: “For every negative letter I receive about a teacher, I receive a hundred positive ones, which confirms my belief that there are many more good teachers than bad.” Interestingly, many people actually hire a detective to “help in locating a former teacher. People want to find their teachers and thank them.”

Teachers lay the essential foundation for a person’s education. Even the best professors at the most prestigious universities are indebted to teachers who took time and effort to prime and cultivate their desire for education, knowledge, and understanding. Arthur, in Nairobi, says: “All top policymakers in the public and private sectors have been taught by a teacher at some point in their lives.”

How grateful we should be to those women and men who provoked our curiosity, who stirred the mind and the heart, who showed us how to satisfy our thirst for knowledge and understanding!

How much more grateful we should be to the Great Educator, Jehovah God, who inspired the words of Proverbs 2:1-6: “My son, if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself, so as to pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment; if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment.”

Notice the conditional “if” that occurs three times in that thought-provoking text. Imagine, if we are willing to accept that challenge, we can “find the very knowledge of God”! That, surely, is the greatest education of all.

[Box on page 13]

A Happy Parent

The following letter was received by a New York City teacher:

“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the depth of my soul for what you have done for my children. Through your care, kindness, and skill, you have helped them to achieve great heights that I am sure they would never have experienced without you. You have made me very proud of my children​—an experience I shall never forget. Sincerely, S. B.”

Do you know a teacher you could encourage?

[Picture on page 12]

‘It is great to see the students’ eyes light up because they have understood a subject.’​—GIULIANO, ITALY

[Pictures on page 13]

‘It is very rewarding when a student takes the time to write a letter of appreciation.’​—CONNIE, AUSTRALIA