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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Why I Teach

Today I stumbled upon an Edudemic blogpost: Why Do You Teach? Tweet Your Story With The #whyiteach Hashtag.  So I went to Twitter, and searched the hashtag to see what other people were saying about why they teach.  It was inspiring.

So I asked myself, why do I teach?  The answer is simple - I teach because teaching makes me happy.  I love teaching.

I love my students:

My students are amazing.  They make me laugh and they make me cry.  They surprise me with what they know and they shock me with what they don't know.  (Two weeks ago one of my students asked me what the word "triumph" means.  Last week, a different student asked what the word "contribution" meant.  How can kids in Grade Six not know these words?!?)  Being with them keeps me young.  We forget what it is like to not know.  I love to look at the world through their eyes.  But the best thing about my students is that they need me.  They need me to inspire and guide them.  They need me to love them and teach them.  They need me to tell them how unique and wonderful they are and to let them know that I believe in them.  Sometimes I feel as though I am opening up the world to them, letting them know what is out there for them to explore, and giving them the tools and permission to explore it.  Being a part of that makes me feel necessary and worthwhile.

I love the challenge:

Teaching is not like any other job in the world.  There are so many variables involved in the job that you have no control over.  Sometimes it seems that the likelihood of success is nil; there are often so many obstacles that seem to be working against us, like lack of time, lack of resources (often human), lack of space, lack of parental support, and far too many expectations.  And yet we do succeed time and time again.  In order to be successful, I have to be creative.  I have to find out what makes each child "tick" in order to inspire and motivate that child.  I can't make a child learn, but I can inspire a child to want to learn.  I love that challenge.  When I am successful, when I see a child excited to learn something new or proud of an accomplishment, I feel as though I have climbed Mount Everest.

I love to learn:

But the BEST part about teaching is that I get to learn.  The number one learner in any classroom is the teacher.  I learn about children and how they learn.  But I am also still learning my Math, Science, Language, Social Studies and Art.  These kids teach me something new every single day!  I might have five different ways to solve a Math problem, and still they will come up with some interesting new strategy that I never thought of before.  I might think I understand a poem or text, but they will teach me a whole new way to look at it so that I see it with new eyes. Now that I've made technology and digital tools available to them, they are teaching me at an alarming rate!  I show them a new app in the morning - that afternoon they are teaching me how to use it.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I work 50-60 hours per week.  I work in the summer (preparing and planning), I work on the holidays (marking and reading professional resources), I work before and after school, I work on weekends.  I dream about my class.  I talk about them at dinner.  I know that so many people out there think we teachers have it so easy.  They just don't understand what an all-consuming awesome responsibility teaching is.  But it is a wonderful job and I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the teaching profession.

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