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Thursday, August 4, 2016

5 Reasons that Teaching is the Best Job in the World

My 5 Reasons that Teaching is the Best Job in the World

     From the first day I stepped into school as a teacher intern, I knew that I had made the right choice. Teaching is the most rewarding, and most difficult, career choice.  Here are just a few of my top reasons why I love being a teacher.

  1. Everything Matters, Every Day! Every action, every word, influences the culture of the classroom and ultimately the school.  One day it may be your posture. Another day, it may be your tone of voice. Yet another, it may be what's for lunch. Every single decision, whether you make it or not, effects the students in either a positive or negative way. The school is a giant ecosystem with so many moving and interacting organisms that it is almost impossible to keep up with every part.  Our classroom is a microcosm of that crazy, wonderful ecosystem that I lead.  I determine the climate. I influence the atmosphere. I control my interactions and reactions. Thus, I can build and model caring, growing, and learning in a way that many students only experience at school. My classroom is OUR living room.
  2. Students are Resilient!  Students, our kids, come from so many different places that you never know what is going to walk in the door next. Some show up the first day in amazing outfits, that sometimes hide bruises and emotional scars. Few show up well adjusted, prepared, and ready to learn. Many show up, scared, hungry, excited, or nervous. However, there are always a few whose stories break your heart. You have to wonder how they manage to get up every day and move ahead at all. I've found that they do because it is all they can do. Children don't have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing their circumstances. So they (usually) lift their head high, put on the best clothes they have, along with their best smile, and come to see their teacher. 
  3. I get paid to make children do things they don't want to do, and convince them they like it! It's true. Most students wouldn't work hard if given a choice, and learning is hard work.  For some students, it is all hard. For others, it is almost all easy. Yet for most there is a mix of difficult and easy school subjects. Just ask a class full of students what their favorite subject is and you will hear, "recess" and "lunch," as their top choices. When asked about their most difficult academic subject, you get a lot of "math" and "reading." Unfortunately, the standardized tests don't measure recess and lunch skills. Thus, I get to motivate them to master their most difficult challenges. I live for great challenges, and helping kids conquer their most difficult challenges is a source of joy for a teacher.
  4. The kids keep showing up! Every morning they are at my door before the bell rings. Sure, I know they have been sent by their parents, and assigned by the district office and our school office to my room, but they are there EARLY. It almost seems that there is nowhere else they would rather be at 8:30 on a weekday morning than with me. They are there hungry, on crutches, with colds and stomach aches. Some glowing with excitement to tell me some big news. Others, show up nearly dragging themselves through another day. Then, as the year goes on, I realize just how important I am in their lives. Sure they have to come to school, but it becomes clear that they are more excited about our classroom relationships than any of the assignments we will complete.
  5. I get to see the Future, and it is Bright! Having worked in education for most of my life (my previous career is in the timber industry, but that's another story) I have seen a lot of changes happen. When I started teaching 22 years ago, I had one computer for email. Now, I'm starting my 4th year with 1:1 iPads. Even though the tools of learning have changed drastically, the kids still want the same basic things. They want to feel safe. They want to be accepted. They want to be successful as a learner. They will demand to be recognized if not for good it will be for bad. They are curious and inquisitive. The things that have changed the most about students are the things that I think make our future the brightest and yet the scariest. They question everything. They want to know why something is the way it is and do not accept "because that is the way it has always been" as an answer. They are willing to try anything, and they will develop a unique identity. The kids I teach and see today have kind, caring, and generous hearts. They have the potential, and the fortitude, to take on today's world and change it for the better. 
     I don't know when I will eventually leave the classroom, but I do know that I cherish every day that I get to be a part of the kids lives. I grow as a person and as a learner every year. I guess if that growth ever stops happening, it may be time to go. I pray it doesn't.