Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word ‘Profession’ as ‘a type of job that needs special training or skill, especially one that requires a high level of education.’
Medical, Engineering, Legal Services, Teaching, Banking, Dentistry are some of the well-acclaimed professions in the world. An individual begins professionalism soon after acquiring skill and academic qualifications by graduating with courses and programs of their choice from college and universities.
A highly skilled and learned person in the medical field to cure people is known as a doctor. A nurse is educated and trained in paramedics, a lawyer in legal matters, a teacher in teaching, a banker in banking.
There are numerous other professions that people choose where they are trained and are qualified to perform the job assigned.
The conservative belief regarding the best ‘profession’ to pursue, especially in Asian society, is to study medical science. The reason might be that if a person chooses to become a doctor or at least a nurse as their career, the rest assured is that they quickly find a lucrative job and live a decent life. So are other professionals such as engineers and bankers.
Every parent dreams of seeing their children would become doctors or engineers. It is, so far, an open secret of our society, a.k.a., in the context of Nepal and probably the whole of South Asia.
However, gradual change has been taking place in the traditional mindset of understanding what profession is the best profession and what our kids can be and cannot be as career people. This shift of thinking has been being noticed in Nepali society too. It could be because people, regardless of nationality or geography, have become exposed to innovative thoughts and lifestyles as per the advancement in science and technology redefined the concept of ‘profession,’ ‘job’ and ‘career.’
The modern notion regarding profession is that any career orientation is the best as long as you prove yourself the most innovative and outstanding in this competitive global scenario.
Teaching is also a widely adopted profession nowadays. I chose the teaching profession because I love to be a part of pupils’ advancement from darkness to a bright destination. Teaching is the profession in which we get a sense of self-reward as we live along with seeing the success of our students. It is only the profession that presents everywhere to create many other professions. Be it called mentor, guide, tutor, coach, instructor; they are all teachers preparing people capable of other professions. It is the profession that creates other professions.
It was around a decade ago that I started teaching. I was young then. I first got a job to teach English at the elementary level. The first experience of my teaching was remarkable. It was my demonstration of teaching in a class where the Principal was observing me.
As I began teaching a story in a book named ‘Gulmohar English Reader,’ the students seemed enthusiastic and attentive. I read each paragraph and explained the story to suit the level of students’ understanding. I experimented while teaching then. I tried to relate an imaginary anecdote to the chapter I was teaching. It worked like magic. Later, after the end of the chapter, some students asked questions, and I answered. And that was that.
The Principal seemed amazed and impressed by my performance. He appreciated the way I taught and offered me the right way to teach at the primary level. Since then, I have been doing nothing but teaching.
The next day, I reached the school in time. I had arrived there ten minutes earlier because the Principal’s words had instilled in me feelings of punctuality, sincerity, and loyalty. I took classes. I hardly knew how time passed. It was fascinating to work with innocent children. I felt as if I was a great person for them because they admired me so much. The children seemed to be always ready to learn from me. This kind of memory amazes me to this date.
By the end of the school year, I had already been a good team player and the best teacher. The following year, I got promoted to a Lower Secondary Teacher. I was ever more excited and encouraged. This promotion motivated me to be more dedicated and devoted to teaching.
The pedagogy that I used in my classroom was slightly different than the traditional ways of teaching. My teaching methodology was learner-centered and included focused students’ activities. In the beginning, I always asked students about their feeling about the day. I even made students speak a few words in front of their friends on different informal and straightforward topics of everyday life and learning. Wherever and whenever possible, I tried to relate my personal experience with the teaching and learning process. Often, I understood students’ psychology and used fun-based learning strategies. Time kept rolling, and I had already worked there for three years.
Towards the end of the third year, my family began to pressure me to change the job, reasoning that I had no better future life in this job. The income I used to make out of my teaching job wasn’t satisfactory, either.
My contemporaries had returned from working in Saudi Arabia and other neighboring Muslim countries, having a large sum of wealth in the pocket. Compared to these people, my financial status as a job holder was not that exciting. My family was not unaware of it. I also got somehow impacted by the family’s will and by the descent earning of my fellows, at least better than me as a teacher.
To make a better future life by profession, I decided to do more school and joined Bachelor’s Degree in Arts at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus then. No later than a year, my family started pushing me to start a business or get a working visa to any Arab country.
I had decided to pursue teaching as my only career, but my family’s condition was forcing me to quit. The situation was not favoring me to move forward with my dream job. But, I was convinced and agreed not to give up because teaching would be the profession that I was passionate about.
I talked to my employer, explaining the tough deal that was going on in my family regarding my career perspective, and told him my intention to terminate the job. He promised to raise the pay starting the new school year. I tried to convince my family using the ‘pay rise’ token. They seemed ‘okay’ but unwillingly. I continued the job with a slightly increased pay scale.
In the meantime, my family again began to pick after my job and the income it used to yield. They were highly influenced by the flaunting lifestyle of my Arab returned coevals that they began to pressure me to quit teaching and go abroad. This made me feel very sad.
I regretted having chosen this profession. The situation gradually frustrated me so much that its reverse impact came down to my day-to-day teaching efficiency. I didn’t feel that I liked teaching. The admin noticed the reflection of what was undergoing inside me in my daily performance.
One day I was called to the office. I told the whole story that I was facing then. He opined that I was not any ordinary teacher. He commended my zeal, passion, and devotion to teaching. He finally suggested that I would complete the running school year before I resigned and try my luck in reputed private schools. It was tough to hear that my employer was telling me to leave his school. I didn’t share anything about this with my family.
Alike what the boss had suggested, I sought job opportunities in some high-ranking schools in the town. I got hired in one out of two schools I was interviewed in as a Lower Secondary Teacher again. I was just astounded by the paycheque they offered. My family was happier this time when they heard about my salary.
The most challenging time was when I had to say goodbye to my dearest students, where I worked for four years. I managed somehow. I visited classrooms to say goodbye. The children felt so much devastated by the news that I was no longer their teacher. I couldn’t remain there for a long time, heartbroken.
Since then, I have not looked back in terms of what progress and prosperity I earned. I worked in that for another four years as a Lower Secondary Teacher. My performance was never lesser in any aspect. Whoever I worked with, they praised by punctuality, sincerity, and loyalty.
I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in English and was promoted to Secondary Level Teacher the following year. I didn’t get any complaints from my family since then. Though I couldn’t convince them that I was earning as much as my neighbors were doing, I at least stopped them from asking to leave my nation to work in the extremely high temperature of the Arabian countries.
The success of staying in the profession I love to be with has been the most remarkable turning point in my life. I have seen many middle-class youngsters heading towards the Arabian countries as foreign workers after high school. They dream of harvesting money from trees in foreign lands, but it is not that easy to earn a wage there. They think it is easy to climb those trees and pick money. If they work hard in their own country the same way they do in other’s countries, it is not hard to earn. I never dreamed of leaving my motherland. I worked harder here, and I have come to this position.
In a nutshell, hard work always pays back. The academic qualification that we obtain is the key to success.
If we have zeal, passion, determination, and perseverance, nobody and nothing can hinder our progress and success. Along with that, we must think of contributing to our own motherland too. We see hundreds of youths heading towards America, Australia, Europe, and Gulf countries.
Yes, I am a teacher, and I am not leaving my homeland for any transient joy and excitement.
The writer is an English language teacher Department Head with Radiant Readers Academy, Kathmandu, Nepal.