In deciding to go into the field of education, I've received both criticism and praise from people I respect and from people whom I wish had more respect for others. For those who value the teaching profession and see its worth in creating more socially conscious minds, I hope you read this blog and see yourself nodding your head. For those of you who believe that teaching is easy and that only "those who could not do it, teach," I hope this blog gives you a fresh, new perspective on teaching.
Whoever said teaching at the elementary school level, or any level for that matter, is easy, has obviously never had any experience teaching 25 kids coming from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds with different skill levels and social backgrounds. Teaching is not easy; it's exhausting, you get sick all the time because your students don't know how to cover their mouth (or in Kindergarten, don't know how to keep their hands out of their mouth); you're in an underpaid profession; you spend time at home lesson-planning; you struggle to discipline the students who have no discipline at home; and above all, you do not want one single kid to drop-out or get discouraged about their abilities.
I entered a profession that is one of the most challenging and underpaid. So, some of you have asked why? Why didn't you become a lawyer, a doctor, or even a professor where you can earn more money? My answer to you is this:
For me, going into the teaching profession is not a matter of money. It is a matter of will. I've decided to devote myself to my students because I love what I do, am proud of what I do, and cannot be happier knowing I am shaping the way young individuals see themselves, others, and the world. I want to be a teacher. Did I always know I wanted to become a teacher? No. Like other college graduates, I didn't know what I wanted to do for the next five years. For people who have lots of interests in many different fields, how do you meld your interests together with your skills?
It's about knowing yourself or "Know Thyself" as the Greeks would say. Know what your interests are and know how to prioritize how you want to impact the world; know your values; know what makes you feel so motivated you could work for hours on end without thinking it is a struggle with other parts of your life; know that you must do what will make you happy.
Teaching is never easy because one individual is never simple. We are complex individuals, even more so as children, because we are trying to figure out the world, why things are the way they are, and what we are capable of. Teachers must believe in the potential of their students. The moment a teacher gives up on a student, is a moment when they stop believing in their own ability to help the child. Students have the potential to grow and learn. Teachers must step up to the challenge and think creatively and powerfully to how they can affect and reach that unique student.
I am a teacher because I know I will step up to the challenge.
The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and do not reflect those of institutions, organizations, or employers associated with me, past or present.