Tuesday, May 24, 2011

“Eish*, that salary won’t pay much”

This is what - sneeringly – I am told when I make mention of my intended vocation. If not that, i hear that teaching is for stupid people. Frankly, I am sick of hearing it and refuse to give up defending the nobility of a grand profession discredited much too easily by many. Like teaching, poetry too, is derided. And in response to Plato’s attack on it (poetry), Sidney declares that it does not require a defense: poetry was a storage facility that housed all the old, basic and fundamental forms of knowledge – history, philosophy, even science and mathematics. Thus, deeper forms of knowledge are useless without poetry, as it is the parent block from which all other branches of knowledge initially stemmed. So one can truthfully state that poetry acts as (or is) the stepping stone towards academia. This is why Sydney believes that the person who mocks poetry is like a child who shows ingratitude towards his parents (poetry being the parent block and everything else, its child).

I love the way in which Sydney argues this point, because it is akin to the perception of teaching in society today. Much like poetry, school teaching is one of the parent blocks of human understanding and social construction. University lecturers are amazingly intelligent (and consequently, respected) because of the level of their qualifications. Also, they are valued because of the kind of knowledge that they can transmit and produce, all towards the development of society. However, we forget that their teaching is useless to the person who was without a school teacher to first help him understand the ‘simple’ basics, like learning to memorise and write the distinct curve and shape of each letter at primary school. Doing so was as hard as writing a couple of thousand words on the topic of subjectivity in Pride and Prejudice at university, the success of which can be acquired only through a gradual ascension across cognitive levels.

Successful teaching is an amazing feat. We are not self-sufficient in our ability to easily write or calculate. Our brains were taught to do so by out parent-teachers, the people who influenced the world in ways we forget to see. God-willing, I hope to become a teacher, and in response to all the why not’s, here is a wonderful list of whys:

To teach is to -
  • erase ignorance and awaken understanding.
  • determine a way of thinking for those being taught, thereby forming a future culture of expression, seeing and living based on the principles of each lesson.
  • establish a legacy of wisdom and understanding.
  •  be unselfish: imparting knowledge as a charitable gift.
  •  empower man with invaluable skills that others outside of school may not care to share.
  • invest in others with the wealth stored in your inner reserve bank: passion, kindness and guidance (and it is never depleted!)
[This blog is dedicated to the teachers of the world who create imprints on the consciousness of their students - who sometimes don't know it... but would thank you profusely if and when they do]

* A South African expression indicating surprise or dismay. Pronounced "aysh".


  1. hi rawiyah, what a wonderful surprise, thought you wouldn’ t look me up after I told you I don’t do literature. Ha ha. It’s great to get to know ana’s friend like you. Many thanks for teaching your mom’s recipe to me ( although from behind curtains- aysh ! aysh ! again :) )..surprised not dismay ok :)

    Sounds really flavorful and yummy, please do a Guest post for me on this, do check again ok, your mom may put more flavorful ingredients to this lovely recipe, that you may not be aware of (sorry, I know you are a great cook). And a photo of it too. I like it, something different. .take care
    I always respect people who teach good knowledge to others. Money will go but knowledge will grow.

    Teaching is a very honorable profession, it takes a lot patience to teach and ensure that knowledge imparted are fully understood by the student.
    Come to think of it, may be I should read Midsummer's night dream again..(since 30 years ago)

  2. A Midsummer Night's Dream is my FAVOURITE (apart from a few of Shakespeare's poems, that is).

    Doing a guest post sounds great, and I've nearly reached the end of some of my semester courses, so i should be free to do so really soon.


  3. You also have three blogs.
    lol I just started another one. Every two years I start another.
    I don't know why. I just felt I needed some "space" for myself...
    As time goes by it seems we need to share another part of ourselves. This is strange. I can't explain.
    I like this one better. I'll see the last one.
    I'm trying to follow but it's not working now.
    I'll try again.

  4. not working.
    I forgot what I came to say:
    Teaching is like you said an unselfishness act and we have to enter the world of the students instead of making them entering ours all the time.
    This is a very beautiful profession but as governments don't pay attention to education anymore teachers lost their credibility. In Brazil, this is what happened in my country. I feel very sad.

  5. Hi Ana
    Yes, i do have three blogs :)but only two are available for viewing. The third has nothing but a title. I can't seem to find a separate purpose for each. I think that when blogs are dedicated to our lives, we find that there are too many mixed and unrelated categories of our lives to include into one blog, and so we begin another. And another.

    With regard to teaching, i think it's a general situation in the world. Governments are to blame, yes. They refuse to pay teachers properly, and as a result, professionals end up not entering the teaching field, and the outcome is that many of those who do teach, are not qualified to do so. And the education system goes down from there and stays there.

  6. hi rawiyah, am back with one good news..
    o before that, am eagerly waiting for tha guest post from you..shall i call it melayu africa recipe ?...oooo thats uniqueeee
    congrat i have chosen you as one of the recipients for SUNSHINE AWARD. can you please collect it in 3 hours from now. many thanks, have a nice day

  7. Hi Rawiyah , I am offering you awards nos 6, 7 , 8, 9 ,10 and 11, but give you the liberty to choose which ones you like.. This is an exceptional case from other awards. Do visit my blog and give me your answers in my comment box. You have to give the award numbers as confirmation..so that other blogger knows they are taken. Thank you and have a nice day. Hope you can accept all..
    PS: I have not finished with the award giveaways yet, still have to reach a few more bloggers. I .got internet problem due to bad weather, since few hours ago…
    so its ok, take your time, You can email me at wmznahwm@gmail.com looking forward to read your recipe..
    i am so proud of you, if you are melayu africa..excited..

  8. An excellent write-up! Loved this post. I don't understand why some people have negative thoughts on teaching profession. Teaching is a noble profession. The illiterate becomes literate because of teachers!

    I'm happy that you have chosen this profession. You're in the right path. :)