I was recently at an awards ceremony for high performing schools. The keynote speaker read a list of 10 reasons why her best friend loved teaching. The teacher had written this list at a particularly low point, a time when she needed reminding as to why she had ever wanted to be a teacher. Our speaker challenged each of us to create our own list of 10 reasons why we love teaching, so here goes… Consider it a work in progress.
10. Staff Pot Luck Events. I’m sorry, but when teachers cook, it’s almost as good as a church event. The other day we had a cookie exchange. Holy cow! Move over Martha!
9. A mom, not a teacher. The mom of one of my students this year came up to me the other day and gave me a giant hug. She thanked me for what I’ve done for Zack this year and how I’ve enhanced his enthusiasm about school. She’s a teacher at my school. That day, she was a mom in tears.
8. Learning. I love teaching because I love to learn. I care more about instilling a love of learning on my students than I do what tests they pass or scores they make.
7. Summer Vacation. No, not for the reason that you think. Within 2 weeks, I’m ready to get back to work. Despite struggles and low points throughout the school year, I always feel this way. I spend my summers figuring out to make the next year better than the last.
6. Homemade Christmas Gifts. A frame made from a cardboard box. A recycled pair of earrings. A handmade card. These are the gifts that bring me to tears because they are gifts of the heart.
5. “I want to be a teacher.” When I hear a student, any student, say that he/she wants to be a teacher, I am motivated. In a culture that focuses on money and fame, where little kids want to be professional athletes and musicians, I am touched and inspired because I know there are those who want to continue the work I am doing.
4. Recess. Recess is a great time to teach students about discounting stereotypes. I can throw a football in a perfect spiral much farther than any of my students. The first response of the year is always, “But… you’re a girl!” My girls perk up and my boys start to think. It’s good. Very good.
3. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards It’s not the certificate or the plaque or the pay raise. It’s the process. Completing my National Boards transformed my teaching and reflecting practices. It made me look at my practice in a way that has since improved my teaching in countless ways. The processes that were required by doing National Boards have now become a part of my daily teaching practices.
2. Destiny is on the honor roll. When Destiny came to me, she was repeating the 4th grade. I was new to the school. She had missed over 20 days of school the previous year. The year I had Destiny, she bloomed and blossomed in so many ways. By the end of the first nine weeks, she had found a love of learning and passion for school. She never missed and wrote me the most beautiful letter that now hangs inside my classroom cabinet for a “rainy” day. On graduation day, her mother bawled. I did too. Now, Destiny is an honor roll student at the middle school.
1. The motivation of my colleagues and friends. Why do you love teaching?