I am not special. I am not beautiful. I will never be rich. I will never be able to retire early and travel as much as I want for many many years in my life. I am not especially talented in anything. Nor can I sing, dance, act, or do anything to become famous. I am no genius, and only have elementary knowledge of the general subjects. I am clueless when it comes to money matters – savings, investments, and business. I am weak and what physical stamina I had back when I was a child has long deteriorated over the years. I will not be remembered by the people of this time. I will not be one of the great people of our time.
But this is what I am.
I am Carmen teacher. I am called (affectionately?) Caramel teacher, 칼멘 teacher, knife-noodle teacher. I have a semi-celebrity status in my school. I had over 800 kids in two years. I am a proud teacher who calls her students her kids. For my students, I am sometimes an actress, sometimes a singer, sometimes a comedian, sometimes an advisor, sometimes a confidante. I have created games that failed miserably and games that were amazing. I have tried to expand their mind and understanding of the world as they know it. I have introduced foreign concepts and foreign people. I challenge them. I praise my students when they try their best, no matter if they’re right or wrong. I express my disappointment when they misbehave. My students know that I’m disappointed in their actions and not in them. I take the time to speak to them one on one. I play and talk to them even outside of class. I am never out of energy when it comes to my students. I never give up on them even when others do. I know that they are imperfect because I am too. I care deeply for my students. When they think of me, they think of my constant smile. Every day, every class, to every student. I am kind. I am encouraging. I am supportive. Sometimes, I’m discouraged but I always find my way back. In the end, I have expressed my gratitude and wishes for them. I have received their messages of thanks. I accepted their apologies and thanks. I have seen them cry tears for me. I have cried and shed tears for them. I have said goodbye with a heavy heart.
I am a teacher. I am Carmen teacher. But in a week, I will no longer be Carmen teacher.
And I will work hard for the next students when I get the job, the chance, the opportunity. Because the joy of working with these young minds and the heartbreak at the end is all worthwhile.
This is who I am. I am a teacher.