Teachers by Calling: What Can We Learn from Them? -

Teachers by Calling: What Can We Learn from Them?

Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This modern-day adage is thrown around by motivational speakers left and right. But is working what you love merely a contemporary mantra? Did working by calling not exist before?

We asked two teachers from Vilnius Business College, Irena Seniut and Skaistė Didžiulienė, what it really means to work in what you’re passionate about. Both have spent decades teaching, cherishing their students and their work experiences. They shared how they discovered their profession, what they learn from their students, and whether they still love their job.

I. Seniut: “The Desire to Teach Overcame All Obstacles”

Irena Seniut recalls that even in childhood, she knew she wanted to become a teacher. The question was what to teach. “In school, I had a professional, respected English teacher. She noticed my natural pronunciation of English, so that determined what I would teach,” recalls I. Seniut.

However, in the Soviet era, English was not a promising field, and being a teacher was not prestigious. The future student faced objections, but firmly decided and supported by her parents, she successfully entered the then Vilnius Pedagogical University, graduated, and immediately got a job there. She continues to teach and learn English to this day.

Being a teacher requires a calling to work with people.

“I don’t have the same days at work. Each group I teach is different. I have to learn to communicate with young or older people. I think in this job, you need a calling to work with people because you have to be able to accept them and be flexible,” says the head of the Foreign Languages Department at Vilnius Business College.

Asked about the challenges of teaching English to the modern generation, I. Seniut says it’s not easy to show that language learning is a beginning but not an end. “Now English is everywhere. Students travel, read, watch movies, so they think they know everything. But the truth is different. You need to learn the language for life. Due to the excess of information and stimuli, it’s also harder to engage and motivate them.”

Learning is easy when you love your job.

According to Irena Seniut, continuous learning, which is an integral part of her job, does not bother her, although it takes up a lot of time. The teacher is convinced that learning is easy when you love your job: “I learn from colleagues who are interesting people. All my friends are teachers. It’s my way of life, the only thing I know how to do, so I hope I’m doing it well.”

Every teacher will say they learn a lot from their students. Not only teaching differently, adapting to the individuality of the younger generation, but also drawing on the values they live by. I. Seniut noticed that the modern generation wants to live a holistic life: to do a job they love, to have leisure time, not just to pursue a career. “I learn from my students youthful maximalism, the desire to change something, good mood, the ability to relax, because my generation is used to striving for perfection and sacrificing a lot for work,” says the teacher at Vilnius Business College.

S. Didžiulienė: “This Job is My Calling”

Photo – personal Archive of S. Didžiulienė

“I enjoy what I do and wouldn’t want to do anything else. Being a teacher is absolutely my calling,” says Skaistė Didžiulienė, who also teaches English at our college.

The beginning of this teacher’s career wasn’t about fulfilling childhood dreams. “I dreamed of becoming everything in childhood: an actress, a restaurateur. But everything happened simply: after graduating from university, my diploma supervisor called me and offered me a job. It was the current Vilnius Business College. I started working here about 30 years ago,” recalls S. Didžiulienė.

Asked what she enjoys most about her job, the teacher says everything: continuous learning, communication with people from whom she learns a lot. “I sit on the other side of the desk because I know more about English. I learn no less from my students than they learn from me. I am very interested to hear them talk on various topics. Sometimes they open up a lot, for which I am sincerely grateful,” observes S. Didžiulienė.

Quitting teaching gave a meaningful gift

The teacher is candid – there was a critical moment in her career when she got tired of this job and wanted to do something else. However, she doesn’t call this stage a mistake or a break. On the contrary, it gave her an extremely valuable gift. Skaistė Didžiulienė clearly remembers: “After quitting teaching, I felt perfect because I realized that I am free and can make decisions myself. I’m not afraid! I have every right not to know, but I know where to look.”

It took five years for S. Didžiulienė to return to the classroom. As she recalls, she didn’t even notice how it happened.

A woman who has been teaching for 32 years says that her work experience has made her grow. If during the first lectures she experienced a lot of stress and fear of not knowing something, now everything is completely different. S. Didžiulienė confidently states: “I’m not God. I have every right not to know, but I know where to look.”


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Vilnius Business College Company code 191807983