Issue 9: What is teaching?

By Prof. Eunice TANG (2010-2011)

I, sometimes, was tagged in someone’s notes in the Facebook. The other day, I read this from my former Language Education student who has decided to further his study after teaching for 2 years.

I ain’t a performer… not even a superstar

Once hearing I am studying “drama…”, many would immediately assume that I would be working in the show biz. I’m not going to explain what I’ve been studying in this note, but I want to first clarify that I’m studying “drama education” instead of “drama” as “performing arts”. Most probably, I will still be in the educational field.

Anyway, the key thing I want to talk about in this note is the reason why I study this programme. Before enrolling this programme, I thought that a teacher is like a performer in a classroom. I have to engage my students and arouse their interest. So, I planned to sharpen my presentation and communication skills, hoping to become a more “charming” and “impressive” performer like a successful actor well-liked by lots of fans.

After taking the first course of the programme, I changed.

I shouldn’t be the performer in a classroom. Rather, I should be the facilitator helping my students to be a successful performer in their fields, to achieve their goals and to realize their dreams. The ones who shine and sparkle should be them, but not me.

I don’t want to be a superstar, at least not in the education field; I do hope to do so if I am in the performing field one day.
I don’t need fans.
I don’t need admirers.
I don’t need followers.

The satisfaction does not come from the gifts my students give me, but the growth, progress and improvement they display some day.

Of course I will be hysterically delighted if you thank me. I do feel touched and reassured after reading and hearing your motivating words. I do need regular support and recognition. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Yet, I now realize that your progress is indeed my greatest accomplishment, and I’m really looking forward to it. Knowing that I’m once able to help someone in their development is my greatest satisfaction.

I am impressed by one of the replies. It reads: That’s why I always think that teacher is the greatest job – People spend their whole lives to achieve their dreams, while teachers spend their whole lives to help people with their dreams.

What do you think then?


  1. Yes, being a teacher is great! The sense of satisfaction of seeing a person grow can never be found elsewhere.
    I do love my teachers, and thank them for their unfailing care and support, and sometimes ‘reminders’.
    BUT, being teacher is never easy~ For those who are going to be teachers, and those who are still staying in the profession, I do admire your dedication and devotion! Do believe that you can make a change! Never give-up!

  2. My father, as a twenty-year teacher, always says he is a performer in the classroom.
    He took stock of all kinds of gadgits at home, while I kept being “robbed” of toys when I was small. He even brought a fake cockroach to awake dropping off girls.
    But indeed, he doesnot need admirer to fan up his acting endeavour. He is an atypical performer.

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