For me it's that time of year when we're in and out of school due to snow, mornings are dark and cold, those dreaded testing days are approaching, and we still have over a month before Spring arrives. All those inspiring ideas and lessons compiled over the summer seem to have disappeared - along with my tan. :) No doubt about it, this is the hardest stretch of year. It's definitely a good time for me to recall why I do what I do. Why do I teach? What do I love most about it? Despite my winter slump, there's many reasons why I love teaching!
First and foremost, teaching really is a "calling". I despise that old saying, "Those who can do, and those who can't teach." Whoever said that has obviously never walked a day in my shoes, or any teacher's shoes for that matter. My job is a vocation. My work is not left at school at the end of the day. I'm constantly working from home on new lessons, ideas, and innovative ways to keep my students excited about learning. I take my job seriously, and I'm proud to call myself a teacher!
#1 - I LOVE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
Each day I challenge, support, motivate, and engage my students to do their best. I set high expectations for my students, and they know I expect them to rise to the occasion. All in all, that's my job - right? When previous students come to me and recall old memories of being in my classroom, or tell me that they loved having me as their teacher, or even better, that I was their favorite teacher - then I know I made a difference! There's been days when I've had to pause everything to console a crying child due to a hard home life, fetch band-aids to bandage a wound (as minor as some may seem to me), take feuding friends in the hallway to talk about why we can't get along, or find extra clothes for a child that came to school cold or dirty. Each day brings new experiences and new opportunities for me to make a difference in a child's life, and believe it or not, sometimes it's not an academic difference.
#2 - I LOVE BEING CREATIVE!
Originally, I didn't go to college to be a teacher. I went with the hopes and dreams of becoming a graphic design artist. Somewhere along the way I got sucked into the teaching world (probably because I attended a "teaching college" - ASU) where I was constantly surrounded by aspiring teachers. Their excitement for teaching intrigued me, and before I knew it I was enrolling myself in my first teaching course. From there, I never looked back! I quickly realized that I loved this thing they called "teaching". I loved how I could make and create my own way of teaching by personalizing what my students were presented with. I now use my graphic design skills to construct new and exciting lessons to meet the needs of my students. Whether it's new task cards to review a specific skill my students need work on, a math game for centers, or a set of posters for my classroom - it's something I've created!
#3 - I LOVE THE VARIETY IN EVERY DAY!
There's literally never a dull moment when it comes to teaching! Of course, I have tough days, and there's those days when I'd rather stay in bed and pull the sheets up over my head rather than go to work. However, no two days are the same. Every lesson is a new journey. Every incident and interaction with colleagues, students, and parents brings about new learning experiences. Every "light bulb" moment has lasting effects for both me and my students. Yes, some days I leave school with my head spinning! Kids are funny (and I don't mean in a laughing sort of way). Some days I look at them and think, "What planet did they come from?" Other days they do leave me laughing - literally in stitches, and sometimes they just frustrate me! However, there's always bright spots to every day, and students never cease to surprise me if I just take the time to stop and watch!
#4 - I LOVE HAVING CONTROL! (and no I'm not a dictator) :)
No, I'm not a control freak either, but I do love the fact that I have control over my job. Maybe not full control, but teachers somewhat have control over their classroom. To some degree, I can decide what I'm going to teach and when I'm going to teach it. I can decide if I'm going to stay late or take my work home - especially when I can't stand another minute in that room. :) I can decide how I'm going to arrange and decorate my classroom, how I'm going to reward my students for a job well done, or where we're going next on our next field trip. I love the freedom that comes with being a teacher!
#5 - I LOVE MY TEAM!
I feel privileged to work with such an amazing group of teachers. I love my 4th grade team! In 14 years of teaching, I've never found a team more caring and willing to collaborate with each other. They're truly some of my closest friends. My conversations that I have them are passionate and genuine. We are constantly working together to come up with new ideas, share teaching resources, or help each other with the everyday issues and problems that arise in the classroom. We work together to tackle the day-to-day demands of teaching and in return become better teachers, colleagues, and friends!
Teaching is complex. It's a skill - not a talent. It requires long hours, hard work, and dedication, but to me it's worth all of that when I see children grow, learn, and develop into the best they can possibly be.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT TEACHING?