It’s a challenging career, requiring first a college degree that prepares you for the intellectual side of the job; and second social skills, as you have to be able to wrangle a room filled with rambunctious children.

In the beginning as an elementary school teacher, enthusiasm and innocence see you through days of exhaustive preparation and learning to juggle all the hats you must wear. Mid-career, experience and the resolve to make a difference push you stubbornly through endless days working sunup to sundown. Later, as you near the age many retire, passion and a sense of achievement keep you at your post long after others have left the profession. On any given day your duties may include those of mentor, guide, parent, nurse, coach, artist, musician and instructor — you are all those, and an elementary school teacher. Most veteran elementary teachers would probably agree that the profession is a calling or an addiction, not just a job. Our classrooms become second homes, full of all the necessities of life since we almost always put in extra hours much of the school year. Our sleep reduces to fewer and fewer hours filled with an increasing number of dreams related to our most “special” students. Teachers that do not feel this calling or “addiction” do not last long in the elementary profession, because the job requires so much more than teaching.

As an elementary school teacher, you have to learn that schedules and plans are extremely fluid items. Have a backup plan — always. I learned this during a multicultural art lesson for which I had spent weeks and quite a bit of money preparing. The best part and the worst part of teaching, is the kids. It’s kind of an oxymoron, but nonetheless, it is the truth.

Some kids you just want to take home with you and adopt them. They give you hugs, they tell you that you are the best teacher they have ever had, they just make your day. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted my choice of being a teacher. I have stored great treasures in my heart from many a student who taught me something about life. I’ve seen students struggle, but work and work and work to achieve their goals. Completely inspiring. I’ve seen other students just float by when they have so much more to offer. I’ve seen others not try at all. So very sad. I’ve seen acts of great kindness expressed. I’ve often been on the receiving end of those acts of kindness.

Though my hats are many, my hours are long and my monetary rewards not so grand, I will continue teaching elementary school as long as I can mentally and physically do it. Something about a teenager returning to visit you after many years to tell you all the cool things you did that he remembers makes elementary teaching an amazing career! I know I have made a difference and left my mark on the fond memories of many children. I cannot ask for a better reward.

By: Mr. Felmar D. Magpoc | Teacher I | FC Del Rosario Elementary School, Samal, Bataan

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