Yesterday, while looking for something to watch, I chanced upon Freedom Writers I think on the Fox Family Movie Channel.  Anyway, it just started and seemed interesting so I decided to watch it.

I’ve never heard of this movie before, neither do I know of the inspiration for the movie.  Apparently it’s based on a real life teacher, Erin Gruwell and how she turned around her class.

There has never been a shortage of films depicting how teachers influence and inspire their students to do great things and it’s always gratifying when we hear these stories.  I feel that teachers really have the most influential job in the world as they get to mold children’s thinking and a good teacher will motivate a child for life whereas a bad one will scar the same child.

I again got into thinking about careers and jobs.  I used to be a teacher, I taught Physics to high school students.  I don’t think I have as much opportunity as English teachers to open their students minds to the world around them, mold their thinking and influence their actions.  Of course I help them understand the physical world around them, but society and social dynamics are I think beyond the curriculum of Physics.

I entered the work force as an idealistic teacher.  I have watched Dead Poets Society   and I wanted to be that kind of teacher.  Of course it never happened.  It’s kinda difficult to emulate John Keating when you’re talking about Newton’s Laws, Thermodynamics and Relativity.  I like to think that I somehow touched some of my students lives and have somehow helped them acquire skills that will be useful in their life.  However I’m also realistic and I know that most students feel that they don’t really need Physics in their daily life.  I’m sure very few of my students went on to be engineers or scientists requiring an adequate knowledge of Physics.

Teaching is also a very time consuming job.  If you want to do a great job, you really have to put in the time.  As what happened in Freedom Writers,  the teacher spent most of her time with her students that she didn’t have enough time for her husband.  I couldn’t do that anymore.  I have a family that needs me and I wouldn’t want to have both and end up being mediocre.   Of course there are a lot of great teachers who are able to balance both and they are very admirable.

Sometimes I do think about going back to teaching.  I often feel guilty specially when I think of the quality of education in the country now.  I know that there are teachers forced to teach Physics because there’s no one else to do it.  I sometimes feel that maybe I’m wasting my skills by not teaching.  I don’t think I’m the best teacher around but at least I am qualified to teach the subject.  Teaching has a lot of rewards in terms of satisfaction when you see your students trying their best and experiencing a eureka moment.

Teaching really is a noble profession.  Everyday, teachers make the world a better place by educating our children.  Their role in society is unmistakable.  I feel that teachers are under appreciated, in our country even ridiculed.  They deserve to be treated better and admired for the sacrifices that they do everyday.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to teaching.  One thing’s for sure though, I’m glad to have been a teacher and contributed even a little bit to making the world a better place.