It’s the question that many folks wonder of the bright and talented educators out there who seem like they can be doing so many other things.
I mean, why in the world would a talented, intelligent and highly marketable individual decide, actually opt, to become a teacher?
Here’s why I teach:
- There is no other job I can imagine that provides the same kind of satisfaction. I wake up each day and have an opportunity (albeit a challenging one) to help inspire more than 100 people. With my words and passion and growth mindset, I get to participate in the learning of many other people. And I never know when that will happen, so I always have to try to bring my A game. However, even when I don’t bring it, the impact we have as teacher is far reaching. Sometimes we don’t feel the seeds of our work for years, while other times it’s instantaneous.
- Every day is a learning experience. Few other jobs can really be learning experiences all the time, but when you’re dealing with so many personalities and moving parts that is the teaching and coaching day, you just never know what you’ll learn. Looking back on the image above, and thinking about my early career - oy what a mess I was! But I was still making relationships with kids and growing as a person, probably more than a pedagogue every day.
- Every day is a clean slate. Okay so it was a bad day. They do happen. However, once you go to sleep, the reset button sets and you have a choice to wipe the slate cleaning walking into the new day without any baggage. It can be the best day ever and I’ve found, usually after the worst day, the next day is the reminder as to why I need to not give up.
- There is seldom a dull moment. Adolescents are fun and wicked ingenious. Working with them every day keeps me young and on my toes. I need to focus all of my senses and really pay attention to what is happening because every opportunity can evolve or devolve in an instant. When we are truly present, there is excitement always. This is what keeps it interesting.
- I’m challenged on every level, sometimes to my breaking point. Although teaching is by far an incredibly stressful job, no one would argue to the contrary, the challenge is what drives me. I’m like our worst ADD students who can’t sit still and get bored so easily. Let’s face it, since teaching is never dull, we are tried on many levels. This trials force me to be better, not just in the classroom, but with my colleagues and my son.
- I’ve developed relationships with past teachers, students and colleagues. Some of the greatest people I’ve met are educators and the students I’ve been fortunate to learn with. Starting way back in 2001, there are a huge amount of ingenius individuals who have made an impact on me and if I go back in my own learning/student life, there are teachers I had with whom I have strong relationships now. From my first teachers in elementary school that I can catch up with on Facebook straight through the high school teachers who helped shape the teacher I’ve become to the students I met in my first year in Far Rockaway High School to the ones I teach now, I’m fortunate. Truly I’m a better human being because of each interaction. Aside from the teachers I’ve had in the traditional sense, I’ve made friends with colleagues all over the world. These relationships make me stronger.
- Did I mention I’m always learning. There is no other profession I can imagine myself being the best version of myself. Yes, I’m a hard worker and would likely pour myself into anything I deemed worthy of my time, but this profession pushes me and exposes me to new things I didn’t always see coming and not only in my content area. Thanks to social media, blogging and in person conferences, I’m getting the most current research and practical learning and bringing it directly into my work experience. Whether working with my teachers as a coach or with my students, there is so much learning to be done.
- To change the world, one mind at a time. Few other professions have the reach ours does. Ours is the root of all other professions. For the best doctors to become who they are in their profession, they must first learn from educators. The best lawyers, scientists, athletes, architects and every other profession all had to learn first and I’m certain there was a teacher for each of those minds that helped that child come to that decision. Educators make the world better, if not by the work they do every day, by the work they inspire others to do in the days after.
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that there is no other profession that I can really see myself in. I’ve tried a few others out, so it’s not a default and I’m certainly not doing it to have the summers off (as I’m not usually off during that time.) Teaching is both noble and challenging. It takes a long time to truly nurture and grow.
Why do you teach? please share
The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.