Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
There has been a shocking news about a teacher from a respectable school in Jakarta who is currently under an investigation for sending inappropriate text messages and pictures to his underage students. It caught my attention because of two reasons; first, the teacher is from the school that shares the same name as my dear highschool, second, the teacher is just 25 y.o. and quite good looking (forgive my human eyes). As I scrolled down on few articles that reported this case, I saw some nasty comments about young teachers. I can’t believe that people actually condemn the school for accepting a young teacher and entrusting him to be a homeroom teacher. As a teacher who started teaching as soon as I finished my degree, I feel a little bit offended. I was accepted to serve as a teacher at an international school in Jakarta when I was still 21 y.o. My principal back then interviewed me directly and kept asking me whether I was sure to leave Singapore to start working as a teacher here in my hometown. He left me an impression that he did not want me to work there. Not a bad impression per se, rather he reminded me of a patient Dad who is trying to convince his daughter that she has the whole world before her and perhaps it’s a good idea to take some time and weigh the options.
I convinced myself that I wouldn’t survive in Singapore. For me, Indonesia is my home no matter how chaotic it can get. The school is conveniently located about 5km from my home and it’s just too good of an opportunity to pass. 21 years 4 months and 2 weeks old…. i stepped into a classroom, not as a student but as a teacher. It wasn’t easy at all as I remember I cried almost every day for the first semester. Students look down on you, parents thought you are just some genius math wizz (which I’m not btw) who is not qualified to be a teacher. I know how it feels to be sat down in a room before 11 parents who reported you to the principal for failing their kids. (I still hold the record I think). During all those hard moments and hurdles, my dear principal became my hero. He never once blamed me, he never once turned his back on me. He stood by me and he shielded me from those parents. I recorded that “trial” perfectly in my head and my heart.
So it hurt me to learn that people think good schools are not supposed to hire young teachers. If no good schools are to hire these young talents, then who will nurture them and train them to be a good teacher? It takes a process. Some might take more than others but it doesn’t mean we should close that door of opportunity before them. I am forever grateful of my dear boss, who had patiently waited for me and taught me to become who I am today.
I am not saying I am a perfect teacher now. I am far away from that, and still learning to be better… But one thing I’m pretty sure of is, I love my kids and, with God’s help, I strive to always give my best to lay bricks on their pathway. Being a teacher, for me, is an honour. Is the only job in the world that let people trust you with their most precious treasures, voluntarily. If you don’t feel the same way then maybe you would be better off doing something else.
To young teachers out there,
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young!