I once posted a remark on Facebook that one of the best things about being a teacher is that you get to enjoy the holidays. Some students responded by saying that they also intended to take up teaching. One of them asked whether it would be odd when you have a long holiday and your friends are all working. Jokingly I answered, "No, my friends are also having holidays because my friends are my students"
Reading between the lines, the answer indicated that either I am very friendly with the students or I have very few friends. Actually both are also correct. If I were to list my so-called friends, besides the students, it would be just the school colleagues which we meet everyday and seldom would meet outside the school except when there is a function. So actually if you take me as an example there is not much of a social life as a teacher. But I don't think I'm the only one in this situation. I've spoken to other teachers as well and they share the same opinion. Except for people who have a circle of church friends, or fellow Buddhist group members or Yoga class maybe Taichi or line-dancing friends, we do not hang out with our so-called gang anymore. Actually this pattern is not only for teachers. The boy who asked this question (he reads my blog, too) doesn't need to worry. He would welcome each holiday with glee. As he grows older he would realise that you do not always hang out with friends.
During school days your friends are your school mates or tuition friends. Next year when he enters university slowly the ties will weaken as he makes new friends in the university. Of course some of them would continue to be good friends for many years. When he graduates from the university his friends will be mostly colleagues as his university mates might be working in other towns. After a few years of working life he would probably get married. After that his life would evolve around his wife and children. He would love the holidays to be with his loved ones. He would not be hanging out with his friends anymore. Even if he remains single, most of his friends would get married one after the other. The pattern of social life of each and every person changes from the school life as we grow older. This is true for everyone. You might have some friends for life but things will never be the same. Nothing stays the same forever. Later he will realise that. Personally I don't think being a teacher stifles your social life. Maybe its because I am not a very sociable person in the first place. I don't really need to go out with friends all the time. I'm happy to have the time to spend with my family.
If I observe the change in my own social pattern, I notice changes in my circle of friends due to changing of the place we root. (Our orbital..if you understand chemistry) From Penang I went to JB for training...had lots of friends but we were sent all over the country, me to Perak. In USM, the same thing happened..I was sent to Johor again. ( I have a certain yuan with Johor) From the 1990's to 2000's I wasn't very close with students because I didn't teach form 6. And also my children were growing up and I was kept busy bringing them up, chauffering them around and establishing the family. Now that both my children are studying elsewhere, I have time again. That's why I'm closer with the 2008 and 2009 groups. Another reason is of course MSN and Facebook. Especially Facebook..its really a wonderful social networking facility. In my next post I will post some photos of my early years in my present school and also describe some changes in my workplace during these 18 years.