Earlier this month I received an invitation to speak about feminism, to speak on Women’s History Month, to represent both. It was a new experience for me: new group, new forum, and new interview style (I was given parameters, but not the questions or type of questioning upfront); I think I did well though!
I teach because it is essential.
If there’s one thing I learned in the past year, it’s that there are certain professions and industries which sustain our entire existence; there are certain professions and industries that hold up the entirety of society.
Schools, teachers, education–we function, we thrive, thanks to the (public) education system(s).
I knew implicitly how much schools provided, but I don’t think I understood the reach or magnitude until the buildings closed, and the way of schooling transformed, overnight. And I know those who had no idea previously, were even more shocked.
Teaching is essential. And to be able to provide such an essential service, to teach, is an incredible opportunity and noble work–and for that, I teach.
I teach to keep learning.
Teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin. One cannot teach, without learning.
No year is the same. No group of students are the same. No lesson plan is perfect.
Each year poses its own set of challenges, and learning. Each set of students poses its own dynamic that requires an adjustment, new planning, possibly new forums and materials. No lesson plan ever goes exactly as planned.
This can appear frustrating, but it’s also a bit liberating. If I mess up, there’s always the next lesson, tomorrow, next year. Teaching is a profession with constant opportunity for personal and professional growth–and for that, I stay in education.
I teach because I get to read.
I’m an avid reader. If I wasn’t a teacher, I would still read; however, it is thanks to teaching that I have continued reading and discovering the very best children’s books, picture books, and young adult books.
It is through, and thanks, to my work, that the whole realm of possibility was never shut down or shut away. It is through, and thanks, to my work that I am the best aunt, the best friend, the best neighbor, the best (insert anyone) giving out books at parties or making book recommendations for kids–or at least I consider myself that 😜
Today, I must admit that one of the best reasons, one of the reasons to keep teaching, is getting access to the latest and greatest books.
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.