I teach because I can, and do, make an impact–even when I doubt it, even when I don’t see it; I make an impact.
I started teaching in 2007; I was a kindergarten teacher. I didn’t think I would make a career in K-12 education, I thought this was a stepping stone to my ultimate goal: a professor at a university.
I had heard from lifelong teachers about seeing, meeting, and watching their students graduate high school, even college. I had heard from lifelong teachers who taught a student and then, eventually, taught that student’s children. It seemed magical and incredibly distant. I talked about the future with my kiddos, I imagined it, but I didn’t think I would be a part of it–not truly. It was just a wish. Not to mention I was in kindergarten–I had a long wait ahead of me!
Whelp, it’s 2020, and guess what? My first group of students, my little kindergarteners, are graduating high school. It had dawned on me in a conversation with a friend recently and I was stunned–how did I get so old? That much time had passed?
And just as I had come to terms with this realization and began to fancifully dream of what my former students looked like, what they were like, where they were going, and all kinds of hopeful thoughts and thoughts about the future, all of that saturating my mind, a former student contacted me and invited me to their graduation in May!
As soon as I saw the name and the invitation, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was more than an invite or a thought, it was this feeling that after all this time, I was one of those teachers–the kind you want to keep sharing achievements with, the kind you remembered, and that’s what makes teaching all the more special, all the more powerful, all the more important.
When someone chooses teaching, they choose to become a role model, a mentor, an adviser, and so much more–and in this way, they choose to make an impact in the development and lives of people. It’s an incredible opportunity to do good, and in this way, it’s why so many people choose teaching.