As a follow-up to last week’s column, “Gift of coaching in the time of Covid,” I give way to Acacia Elementary School English teacher Jeian Mae Samson.

Her essay:

By Jeian Mae W. Samson
Acacia Elementary School English teacher

Standing at the edge of a cliff, I have seen the teaching profession from a whole new perspective.

When I first heard that the International Coaching Federation Philippine Chapter (ICFP) would provide our school with free coaching sessions, honestly, I was very hesitant to join. It is not easy to share and talk about your personal life and open up to someone you have never once met. Perhaps it’s my curiosity or discouragement that impelled me to take part in the program, but it was something that I did not regret doing.

Even before the pandemic, I already felt that my passion and motivation for teaching were slowly waning. The work that I once enjoyed is now distressing me. Apart from the pressure with the workloads and the low salary that can hardly make ends meet, it was my inferiority and feelings of inadequacy that got the best of me. Recognizing the crucial role of an educator, I doubted and questioned myself countless times. Do I really deserve to be in this profession? Is there something good in me that can have a great impact on my students? What can I contribute to help them realize their dreams? Will I be able to mold these students to become productive citizens in the future? My fears of failing to meet the expectation of society have plummeted my motivation, and the current pandemic just made it worse.

When I started attending the coaching sessions, I imagined myself standing at the edge of a cliff, deciding whether to jump down or stay on the ground. I never imagined that the three sessions with Coach Jennie were already enough time to reflect and realize what I truly feel. I was enlightened.

Being coached was just like a casual conversation with a friend. Coach Jennie asked questions about me and how I was feeling. It felt so natural that I unconsciously just talked and shared my problems and experiences. When she asked about what job would I see myself in aside from teaching, I realized that I can’t even imagine myself doing any other job but teaching. I was very confused; I was tired enough and unmotivated. But why am I still seeing myself as a teacher in the future? It’s not like I won’t be hired if I apply for other jobs. I don’t also think that I was so comfortable and used to this that I’m afraid to be in other professions. Perhaps, my feelings of inferiority and inadequacy were because I am fully aware of what my goals are as a teacher: To make everyday learning fun and motivating, to inspire my students to work hard in pursuing their goals, to help them realize their strengths and potentials, and to guide them in reaching their dreams. I recognize that with the knowledge, skills and abilities that I have, and the restrictions of this pandemic, this is not something that I can fulfill now. The pressure and impatience of wanting to achieve my goals are what is truly making me stressed. This realization made me see the teaching profession from a whole new perspective.

Now, I have a clear plan on how little by little I can achieve my goals. I started exploring and discovering new strategies to implement in class to make my discussion more fun and engaging. I am attending webinars, training, and Master’s Degree classes for my personal and professional development. I initiated an activity in class “My Five-Fingers in English” to give my students a venue to share their interests and reflections on a specific topic and to develop their confidence to speak in English. I am also planning to conduct remedial activities to help my students who struggle to cope with the changes that this pandemic has brought.

Teaching is undeniably a fulfilling profession. There will be times when you’ll feel burned out, and may even want to give up. When you are stressed, your emotions take over your mind. From coaching, I realized it’s better to talk about your problems with people around you. Take time for yourself, reflect on the things that are making you feel stressed and try to come up with a solution to your problems as early as possible. When things get rough, recall the times when you were still imagining yourself as a teacher. Why did you want to be here in the first place? There must be a good reason why you are still here until now. For me, I realized that my passion for teaching and love for students is greater than the stresses that I am feeling. The struggles that I am going through are normal and necessary to prepare me for achieving my goals. There’s no need to hurry, take your time in reaching your goals, and most importantly, allow yourself to restart.

Until next week… One big fight!

Credits: Tribune PH

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