Being a Teacher, Made Me a Student


As a child, you dream. You dream bigger than big and you set yourself goals. It may not always be realistic, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It teaches us to hope for the better and to aim for the stars. Now, some people will argue with me that it can also set you up for disappointment and I’m not going to disagree with you. There are going to be moments in life when disappointment comes knocking and invites himself to stay a night, or even a week. As challenging as those times can be, it can also be some of the most rewarding or insightful experiences you will have.


For four years I had the opportunity to be a teacher at a high school, which was never a part of my plan. I never considered myself as someone who had enough patience to work with kids, let alone teenagers. WOW. Talk about hormones and emotions. I can’t believe I went through that and came out alive at the other end. However, despite this, I can say with all honesty that it was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my lifetime thus far. Working with those children taught me that you should never underestimate them, or yourself because all of us bear the ability to accomplish more than we realise. Sometimes, all you need is that one person who reminds you of this.


Every day as a teacher was filled with different challenges and I could never predict what my day would have in store for me. Maybe a screaming girl or an angry boy hitting the wall? But I quickly learned that fighting back was not always an option because it is similar to having a philosophical conversation with a brick wall. I realised over and over again that taking a step back and giving that child a chance to breathe, was the key to success. And it’s not easy at all. I had to use every little bit of patience I had left not to fight back because I had to keep in mind that there was a bigger picture that I wasn’t aware of. As a teacher, you must remember that the child in front of you might not have slept well due to his mother and father fighting, or she may have gone to bed hungry. There are numerous factors that can influence a child’s well-being and you must take it into consideration when working with them. It taught me to accept people with their flaws and not to judge them accordingly. Later, with time, you will receive the same kind of appreciation and respect – where they accept you for who you are – even if you are a weird teacher.


I will never regret my journey as a teacher, even though there were days when I thought I was going to run away forever. It taught me more than I ever could’ve imagined, and helped me to realise what my true passion is: writing. Thus, giving up my freedom to become a teacher, helped me in finding my freedom once more.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. janesus says:

    I was once a teacher and it was by far the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. This is an inspiring post. Looking forward to reading more posts from you 🙂 Jane,


    1. Ilka Steyn says:

      Thank you for your kind words!


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