Posted in Classroom

Why I Teach

It’s a question that any educator gets asked on a regular basis by new friends and acquaintances…

“So, why in the world did you decide to be a teacher?”

Everyone’s answer is different. Sometimes it’s different every time you get asked. Sometimes it’s even hard to answer. I feel that often when I am faced with this question, my answers are pretty canned and generic

“I just love teaching the next generation!”

or

“I enjoy making a difference in student’s lives.”

or even, depending on the day

“High schoolers are just hilarious and fun to be around!”

While all of these answers are true, they’re surface level. They don’t dig deep into the core of my love and passion for education. So here is my feeble attempt at truly digging into why I teach.

I teach because…

I’ve had a long line of educators in my life that have shaped and molded me into who I am today. Outside of my family members, I can’t think of a group of individuals who have had more influence on my life than my teachers. From pushing me out of my comfort zone to encouraging me to be shamelessly myself, they’ve always been cheering me on from the sidelines and giving me the exact words and actions I needed at that particular moment in my life. I strive every single day to do the same for my students; former, current, and future, and look at my teacher’s example in my daily life to guide my actions in my career.

I teach because…

I’m a lifelong learner. I am truly the kind of person who likes to learn something new every single day. When I’m on vacations, I’m drawn to learning more about wherever I am traveling, weather that be the culture, the traditions, the local flora and fauna, or the people. I am constantly reading and expanding my knowledge base on things that I find interesting and exciting. I can’t count the number of articles I read a week, from science based journals, to political articles, and of course education based blogs and studies. I think there is no better way to learn than to teach, and I strive to expand my knowledge and stay relevant in my classroom by constantly learning.

I teach because…

I believe in the underdog. The student who hasn’t succeeded in any other classroom, the student who has more important things to worry about than their schoolwork, the student who acts out and is hard to reach. Being an agricultural education instructor, I have a chance to reach out to students who aren’t conventional learners, who need to get their hands dirty to find the meaning in things, and teach them ways to incorporate those skills into their daily lives. Helping them create meaning in their learning and finding their passion in something they’re good at and enjoy is so rewarding and leaves me like a proud mama bear at the end of the day.

I teach because…

It’s really gosh darn important. I hear again and again people bashing teachers. “They aren’t good enough to do an actual job, so they teach!” “How hard can they have it, they have summers off!” and so many others, but I don’t want to dwell on people’s small minded comments. A good educator can make all the difference in a child’s life. If it weren’t for teaching, how would we have any other profession? Where would the doctors be? The farmers? The welders? The scientists? Every profession begins with a solid foundation of education and it is so important to nurture our future doctors, lawyers, farmers, welders, scientists, veterinarians, firefighters, and even (especially!) future teachers and help them get to where they want to go in life.

But when I think about my feeling at the end of each day, each week, each year…the real reason I teach is because I was born to do this. I can’t imagine doing anything besides nurturing the next generation, giving them the skills and knowledge they need to be productive and amazing members of society. I remember when I was in kindergarten, we had a day where we had to dress like what we wanted to be when we grew up. And guess what I dressed up like? A teacher. Truly, I was born for this profession and I teach because I love it. Every single hard, exciting, stressful, joyful, tiring, amazing moment.  

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