Once another teacher, who was getting ready to retire, asked me, “Why do you do this? You’re a smart girl. You could do anything.” She then recommended that I check into pharmaceutical sales.
It wasn’t the first (or the last) time that some one has asked me why I would want to teach, but it stands out in my mind because it is the only time another teacher has asked me that.
It’s a question I have mixed emotions about. On the one hand, I’m flattered that people think I could do better. On the other hand, I’m offended that people think I could do better.
The truth is–I’m proud to call myself a teacher. I take a lot of pride in my profession, and I have a lot of respect for my colleagues. I work with veteran teachers who have taught me more than I can ever repay. I work with brand new teachers, who are full of fresh ideas and ready to collaborate in a way that a large portion of the previous generation of secondary teachers weren’t.
My students have been back for two days now, and the honeymoon is already over in my fourth block. I’m currently drained because they are the last class I see before heading home.
Even so, I don’t want to be an administrator. I don’t want to sell pharmaceuticals. I don’t want to be a dental hygienist or a hand model. I don’t want to leave the classroom.
Why not, you ask? I could do other things, but here are the top 10 reasons why I CHOOSE to teach:
10. Why lie? The holidays are sweet. Summer is a time for family and adventure. I can rest assured that I won’t be called in to work on Christmas Eve.
9. I keep the same hours as my husband (also a teacher) and son. They’re at school when I am. We’re home together at the end of the day and on the weekends.
8. I get paid to talk about and learn history. How perfect is that?
7. My colleagues and I have similar values (family and education), which is nice.
6. It’s a fun challenge to try to figure out creative and entertaining ways to teach the same old topics.
5. Stories. I have so many funny classroom stories that are worth 100xs their weight in ink.
4. Community. My school is an important part of the community, and it’s nice to be a part of that. Whether it’s participating in fund raisers for veterans or for the local group home, it’s gratifying to contribute and to provide students with opportunities to do so.
3. It’s truly NEVER boring. Time flies.
2. I have autonomy–really. The tests and paper work are a headache, but in practice, I get to close my door and teach.
And the NUMBER ONE reason I choose to teach…
1. The students. How amazing is it to make a difference in a student’s life? To make them feel a part of something? To see them develop interests outside of their personal technological bubble and to maybe have some part in that?
As the Teacher New Year comes into full swing, I know I’ll get frustrated. I know there will be days that I question my choices like other people have. But I just don’t think I’d be as happy doing anything else.
Why do you teach? How do you answer that question? Leave a comment below to let me know!