Friday, February 25, 2011

Why I teach...

I first posted this about a year ago, and came across it again today. Reading it made me realize that I needed to read it again (ya know the whole God points you in certain directions thing), and that I wanted to share it again. I have made a few changes to the original post, but the was originally posted on February 10th 2010. 


 After having a rough couple of days, I decided that I needed to remind myself as to why I do what I do, what I have been doing since 1998. 


I do not teach for the money, goodness knows I barely make a living wage considering the number of hours I work, and the education I have. 


I do not teach for the retirement, because when you look at our retirement plan compared to someone in the private sector with a similar education level, our retirement plan is garbage. Could there be changes to make it better, or more fair? Of course there could be, but that's not up to me, so quit trying to hurt me and my future by taking it completely away. I have been paying into it fairly, I expect to be treated fairly. 

I do not teach for the glory, goodness knows that I am rarely appreciated by my students, or their parents. There are exceptions to this, as I know very well, but they are the exceptions, not the rule.

I do not teach for the fun of it, goodness knows there are days when I am definitely not having fun. I always try to have fun, but some days it just is impossible.

I do not teach for the summers off, goodness knows there is rarely a summer that I have not taken at least one class/workshop, or have not worked at all. As a matter of fact, I can think of two in 14 years, the year we moved from England to Florida, when my summer was all of one month, and the year before we moved from Florida to Georgia, because I resigned my teaching position knowing we were moving over the Christmas holiday, and I refused to do that to my students, having to change teachers part way through the year. 

I do not teach for the "breaks", you know, winter, fall, President's Day, etc. Because goodness knows on those "breaks", I am still making lesson plans, grading papers, taking a class or something similar. Especially when the kids get the break, and we have a teacher work day.

I do not teach because it's "easy", goodness knows there are days when I do not feel like I reached any of the students, and wonder not what is wrong with them, but what is wrong with me. 


I do not teach because I can "recycle" lesson plans and teach the same thing year after year. Even when I have been blessed enough to teach the same subject two years in a row, the kids and the differentiation needs have changed, or the standards and curriculum have changed. So I personally don't see how ANY teacher could do this.  


I do not teach because its a 7:15am to 3:15pm job. Most days I am at school right at 7:00 am and most days I am there until at least 3:30 pm. Some nights I am there as late as 7:00pm when we have PTO or other meetings. Then I get home and I am grading papers, changing lesson plans for the next day, calling parents, or just thinking about the day and what I could have done to make it better. I always put in several hours over the weekend working on lesson plans, usually at least 3, sometimes as many as 5.
  I teach, because I care. 

I teach, because I want to make a difference.


I teach, because I care about the future of this great country. I know that the children are the only chance we have of having a future.


I teach, because I want to make the world a better place.


I teach, because I know that I CAN make a difference in the life of a child.

I teach, because I can see the future in these student's eyes, if only they are given the opportunity to reach their potential. 


I teach, for the days that I can see that light jump into a student's eye, when all of the sudden they "get" it. 


I teach, because watching a child grow and change through the learning process and knowing that I had a part a small piece to do with it is the best feeling in the world. 


I teach, because I know that some days the only nice words said to that child may have come from me. 

I teach, because I know that this group of students has the ability to become future veterinarians, doctors, lawyers, musicians, actors, directors, statisticians, artists, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives, military spouses, pilots, military members, and politicians, just as much as my former students are now doing, even the ones that we worried and lost sleep over 5 to 10 years ago (I love you guys! I know I didn't say it enough back then!) 

I teach, because one day, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps 10 years from now I just might get that email, that phone call, that Twitter message or that Facebook/Myspace message that says, you made a difference in my life, you always believed in me, thank you. And in that one message it makes all of the bad go away. 

If you are reading this, thank a teacher, really, it's not just a saying, its the truth! I promise they will appreciate the gesture!
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