This is a special blog, because this is not going to be about me. This is about particular persons who very, very important to me. My teachers.
In the past four years, as I have come to grow as an engineer and an individual, these precious people have contributed so much of their time and energy to me. Yet time and again, I have felt like while they were busy filling the voids in my life, there was one running much deeper in theirs. Every time they worked late, did more than required, answered that after-hour email to help their student, some part of their personal life got stripped away – slowly but surely.
In the past year, this has only become significantly worse. As the teachers lose physical contact with their students, as their personal and professional life blur even further into one big mess, as their own children are at home expecting their attention, their 'work children' have an exam coming up and need the attention too. How do you choose?
Teaching is what I call the noblest joyless profession. While they are literally cultivating the next generation of doctors, lawyers, artists and engineers – they are being frowned upon for giving too much homework. Or for not giving enough. For doing their job or not doing their job. Everyone has an opinion of how their job can be done better, yet so few actually take it up.
These teachers have made such a remarkable impression on my life, so much so they almost convinced me to want to be a teacher at some later point in my life. Yet, when I see their struggles I feel terrified. You see, I am not gracious enough to give so openly and willingly and receive so little in return. It makes me think: perhaps that’s why mental exhaustion is called a burnout. While these lights burn brighter to lighten up my darkest days, they are slowly fading away themselves.
If you are a teacher or have been one, and you have genuinely enjoyed your profession, I can give nothing but my sincerest and utmost gratitude to you. Thank you for caring.
Rina Manjrekar (22) is an international student in the final year of her study Mechatronics at Fontys School of Engineering. She moved to the Netherlands four years ago from Malaysia. Here you can find her earlier columns for Bron.