Have you ever been in the situation where you hear someone wistfully say, 'So-and-so is the kind of [insert profession here] I aspire to be' and thought, 'why doesn't anyone aspire to be me?'?
Well, I have. Plenty of times. If I got a dollar for every time someone said that and NOT mean it about me, I would probably retire tomorrow and live a life of sinful luxury on yachts and in ludicrously expensive penthouses. Or bungalows. Not that that wouldn't be fabulous (I mean, consider the extent of shamelessly sitting around doing nothing that that would entail... ) but still...
The truth is, there are a lot of fantastic and inspiring teachers out there. And engineers, scientists, activists, environmentalists, writers... you name it and there's at least a few in every single field. There's at least a handful that do incredible things that make you think, 'wow, this person is really making a difference in the world!' And yes, you're happy that there are talented, driven individuals that are striving to make an impact for the sake of mankind, these altruistic human beings that will stop at almost nothing to leave this planet a better place for the rest of us. Of course you're happy they're doing all this wonderful work.
But at the same time, you're sad, incredibly sad, that you aren't able to muster the energy to even do a day's work, much less get out there with your superpower and make a difference. Right? I know one thing's for sure, that's what I think. Several times a month, if not a few times a day. That nagging question at the back of my mind, triggered by someone's innocent wonder: 'Wow, so-and-so is so incredibly inspiring. I aspire to be like him/her someday.'
Why not me? Why is it that no one seems to aspire to be me? Why is it that it seems that no one is interested in what I do? How I do it? Why is it that no one sees how hard I work, and how hard I try to make a difference? Do I matter so little?
And why the hell does it matter so much to me? Shouldn't I be doing it just for the sake of doing it and not for the sake of being seen and recognized? Aren't teachers supposed to be naturally selfless and do for the sake of just helping others?
Isn't that what this job is all about?
Then how come we don't like it that we aren't appreciated more? How come there are days when you as an instructor feel like nothing is ever enough and it is simply unfair? Like no one sees you except if you are on radio/TV/have authored this amazing article that happened to be seen and shared/basically recognized on a larger scale? How come this one video goes viral of something a teacher does and so many of us watch and think, 'wait a minute, I do this every damn day, how come all of a sudden this is going viral??!'
How come writers get their stuff seen and shared so widely the spotlight seems like it is almost exclusively shines on them and the rest of us can work our asses off and no one seems to give a damn?
And yes, I know this doesn't just happen to teachers. It happens to people that work in construction, architecture (stuff that just isn't famous, really. Buildings that are not extraordinary enough), artists and fairly unknown designers, too (among others). People who certainly put in the hours (for years, even decades) of sweat, blood and tears, and don't get any star shine.
Yes, most, if not the majority of the population, has felt that way sometime, somewhere. If you're a part of the teeny minority that has never experienced this, consider yourself extremely fortunate. But you know, at one time or another, we get over it. Sort of. Meaning we just learn to see ourselves not in comparison with others but in comparison with ourselves and how we make that impact on a smaller (but not less significant!) impact.
So say you're a novice writer. You have only written a couple of articles, and they have been praised by a fairly small group of people. Just because the world has not read your work yet does not make it any less important. If you have made that positive impression on even a few people you know all you need to do is to keep going. Keep persevering. Keep giving it your all.
To be honest, you may never be famous in the way you want to be. But you will always be famous in the way that matters: however small your impact is, if you have made it, it is quite enough, I assure you.
So whenever you're feeling like you're completely under appreciated and your work isn't getting the coverage you think it deserves, look at how many people's minds you are leaving your print on. If even one person reads/sees/recognizes how great your work is, you're already there. You are already at the very least, on your way.