The teacher’s kid

When I reached the age of 3 and went to school for the very first time, I discovered something brutal: I was the teacher’s daughter. Not only that, but I was the teacher’s daughter in 3 different schools! My mother taught in one school and my father in another and he owned his own language institute in which they both taught. I can safely say my parents were literally and factually a school.

My first day at school marked my first day as the 50/50 kid, the child whose appreciation was based on how beloved or despised my father was since my mum taught elsewhere. I was a 3 year old big eyed ball of everything happy when I came face to face with “that guy” on my bus – a 15 year old mess who detested my father and made it impossible for me to get the clean slate I deserved; I was henceforth marked. As days went by, the bittersweet reality became clearer, the random squeals of ecstasy my appearance provoked in some and the flagrant eye rolls and grunts I obviously inspired in others, it was all due to my father being a teacher, the perks and the suffering combined. I later received the same treatment from my mother’s students, but by then I had grown accustomed to the whole charade, numbed to the itchy label I seemingly wore on my forehead – watch out, I’m “the teacher’s kid”, the miniature daytime boogeyman.

It took me my whole pre-teens and a few years into the delightful years of puberty and awkward self-awareness before I truly understood how valuable and just how extraordinary my life actually was, being blessed with two teachers for parents, livng in my own private classroom. I was amazingly lucky, there is no better word to describe it. Under one roof stood gathered walking and talking human dictionaries and encyclopedias, two beautiful souls who had dedicated their lives to the sole purpose of guiding young minds (not to mention adult ones at my father’s institute) down the road of knowledge and haphazardly through life in many cases. I was taught to value people, give as much as I could and stand by all those who needed help in any way possible, to share what I knew, and something I will never cease to thank them for, to understand the value of hard work and hard-earned remuneration.

Our time on Earth is limited and precious, and while we’re here roaming its uneven roads, we might as well make our stay profitable to others, be the gardeners of minds around us, give more than we receive in the hope that someday we too will run into someone we once helped and rejoice in their resulting successes just like my parents so often do. With their minds, they could’ve been anything they wanted, but they chose to teach, to suffer through long parent-teacher conferences, long invigilation hours, endless correction nights, cancelled weekends and their kids blaming them for their lack of energy, too young to fully understand the worth of each day they spent bent over piles of papers, watering the roses of tomorrow.

I was 3 when I understood my parents were teachers, 3 when I started learning that those who teach can in fact do, those who teach know enough to understand that without what teachers do, CEOs wouldn’t be able to type their names, presidents wouldn’t be able to read their speeches and doctors wouldn’t know the difference between a vein and a nerve. I was only 3 when I understood that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like my parents: a giver.

Education manipulation

I’ve always had contradictory feelings about my time in school; I loved it as much as I hated it, probably like many others out there. I remember having quite a perturbing experience, paved with difficulties that later on turned into character-building material; but still, who’d want to wake up every morning dreading the eight-hour long day? Lessons were imposed, weaknesses were exposed and in many classes I inevitably dozed. Then came college, oh joy, finally studying what I want! For five years! Hurray? I wish things were as simple as we prayed they’d be the first eighteen years of our lives, struggling to reach glorified adulthood and long-awaited recognition.

The more time passes and studies are conducted to determine the best educational processes, the more useless information is stuffed into our heads in an effort to prolong and enrich the experience, unfortunately obtaining a less effective method. Back when our parents were young adults, studies were shorter but more condensed; one did not lose interest in the chosen subject after being repetitively submitted to uneducated educational reforms in a vain attempt to add value to the myriad of questionable certifications now available. Half of the world’s higher diploma holders are unqualified for the jobs they’re entering whileas many of those with no degree excel at their craft. One can be autodidact and offer more than another following the excessively beaten track, but today’s world still values owners of signed pieces of paper covered in glamorised insubstantial adjectives. Ink before knowledge, print over experience.

Having ventured in different directions over the past few years, and having met an array of different people from all sorts of backgrounds, I can now assure that today’s world is defective. Being good at something isn’t enough anymore, one can be mediocre and still beat a more skilled individual with something as plain as a higher education degree. Higher. What a term to be used in such invalid a manner; gone are the days of life being the essential shaper of Man, the 21st century has set the mood: paper beats rock, scissors and sweat. Paper, whether the signed or green variety, wins it all.