What does it mean to be a teacher in Turkey? Is it the same experience as teaching in Western countries like England or Australia?
Having spent my teenage years in Australia, in a fairly tough suburban Government school, I vowed never to become a school teacher. It was an era of cultural change in the educational environment. As the new age of extreme political correctness started to take shape in the West, classroom teachers were being gradually stripped of their authority, dignity and respect, both in the classroom and in the community. Increasingly, graduate teachers found themselves without protection or support as they tried to cope with growing numbers of abusive, streetwise students who made their lives a teaching hell.
So it was with much wonder and amazement that I listened to the words of a Turkish teacher friend describing to me the experience of being a teacher in Turkey. Her eyes were shining and her face beaming with happiness as she described to me the intense feelings of pride, honour, and dignity she felt as an educator, motivator and guardian of innocent, excited young lives. It sounded like Teacher Heaven.
Words from the heart of a Turkish High School (Lisesi) teacher:
“When I was 14 I liked one of my secondary teachers very much and I wanted to be like her. She was very hard-working, reliable, good guidance, knowledge and patient. My dream became true and finally I was a teacher. The most exciting day was in my young life my first day in the class. Head teacher introduce me to the class and he said: “She is your Turkish Language & Literature teacher and left me in.” I forgot all information and teacher training my mind became blank. 45 pair eyes was looking at me excitement and very quietly if I drop a pin I could hear the sound. They are like baby birds looking to their mother’s mouth. I started to read their names from Class notebook. I tried to remember and lesson started. After 5 minutes like I was teacher for a long time. I feel confident. I enjoyed very much. By the time I learnt their names, personality, family and problems. I open the my heart to my students. I tried to sort it out their problems. I gave my heart, brain and time. I understood how teaching is a big power changing to world. I saw my student’s success I proud of them. I try to give them good person values. This is my first priority. I was successful. Most of my students are teacher and they were 10-14 when I taught them. One of them contacted with me Face book then after others. This is my satisfaction to see their success in their life.”