Why I Teach

This past week was National Teacher Appreciation week and I was blessed to be on the receiving end of a lot of love. It was so encouraging and very humbling to be acknowledged for just doing my job.

No doubt, teaching has changed dramatically over the years. This is my twenty-first year at my present school. And although I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment, it’s definitely not the same job I originally signed up for two decades ago. Much of the professional autonomy is gone. Curriculum is driven by educational law largely lacking in common sense. Testing is out of control.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed is this – children still need somebody to love them and invest in them. They need someone who will care enough about them to hold them accountable. To say no to unacceptable behavior and yes to putting forth the necessary effort to succeed. They need somebody who will help them push past failure and cheer them on even when its hard.

Learning isn’t about perfection. It’s about progress.

Over the years, I’ve rejoiced in my students’ successes and agonized over their failures. And still I feel like I’m the lucky one. The one, who for at least a short while, got to walk that path of progress alongside them.

A few weeks ago a child in my class wrote me a note on the back of her math homework. She was moving to another state on short notice and on her last day of class she handed in her homework along with these words.

To the best 2nd grade teacher anybody could ever have.

School is very important. That is not why I like it though. I like it because of all of the people you can meet and the things you are able to learn. People become teachers. They take the time to teach us new things. Mrs. Gatts, yes, my teacher, helped me. She and all my teachers helped me learn and know what I do know. I love my teacher. I love you, Mrs. Gatts.

That’s why I do it.

That’s why I teach.

That’s why any loving teacher teaches. We love learning, but more than that, we love the learner.

Happy Teacher Appreciation week to all my fellow teachers! Keep loving the learners. They are so worth it.



7 thoughts on “Why I Teach

  1. “Children still need somebody to love them and invest in them.” And yes, it’s always about individual progress. That’s exactly why I taught. Bravo to you for upholding the REAL standards.

  2. “Learning isn’t about perfection. It’s about progress”- so true! Student all learn different things at different rates! Sometimes failure is a step in the “progress” too 🙂

    • Honestly, in my own life I know I have grown and learned more about myself from my failures than from my successes. Helping our students begin to frame their “failures” in the bigger picture of progress is key! Thanks for reading, Kevin. 🙂

  3. I did not know it was a special day for teachers – we are blessed with men and women who give their time and talents to help raise the next generation. There are so many wonderful teachers out there, I have seen love and care in the hearts of many teachers over my children’s time in school. I appreciate everything they taught them and today they still remember those that have touched their lives in special ways. So do I – and I am an old lady!! 🙂 lol A BIG THANK YOU to all you teachers reading this for teaching our children and for helping us parents raise productive, well adjusted and loving adults.

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