Friday, November 27, 2009

Why Teach?

The last couple of days I have been giving a lot of thought about my students and my career in general. I guess you could call it self reflection.

One of my students actually asked me the other day why I became a teacher. I've explained it before, but never to a 10 year old. I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in Kindergarten. I loved school, and I loved learning. But at that very young age, school was one of few safe places I had in my life. My teachers were my role models and I wanted to be just like them. And it's probably that kind of thinking that got me through for years.

I also knew early on though that I loved kids, and I had a gift. I had a way with younger kids. Early on, I helped out wherever I could. In grade 6, I gave up lunches to act as a supervisor in the Kindergarten room.

By high school, my reasoning went a step further. I wanted to be the teacher that my teachers had been for me. I wanted to be the safe person that a child could trust, while instilling my love of learning. I wanted to give back.

By the time I reached my education degree, it really was about all those things, and something so much more fundamental. Teaching was my passion. It was where I came alive. Despite missing out on so much of my childhood, I was able to live it vicariously through my students while promoting education, safety, respect, and life skills. Teaching wasn't exactly a choice, it was more like my calling. I didn't choose it, it chose me.

Teaching is not as easy business. It's hard, stressful, little pay, and it can burn you out like you wouldn't believe. There were times where I questioned should I continue teaching, especially when jobs were scarce. But at the same time, it is so rewarding. I love seeing my students every day, seeing their smiles, seeing their "A-Ha" moments when they discover something new, and learning along with them.

See while I teach them, they also teach me. They teach me to grow in patience, kindness, and love. They teach me to look at the world through the eyes of the child and see the good. They help me to be a better person. They make me want to be a better person.

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