Why I Teach
Why I Teach
I just read another hub. Someone had written about the top ten reasons for teaching. And it struck a nerve. Don't get me wrong...the hubwriter wrote an awesome hub. She had a great list of good reasons to teach. I agreed with most of the reasons....but the hub mentioned things that are my personal pet peeves...and I had to blow off steam and write....so here you go :)
This person number ten on the list was "summer breaks and holidays off!" I come across this a lot! And maybe that IS the reason many people chose to become teachers...but that was NOT the reason I became a teacher. I became a teacher to help children learn. I had two wonderful teachers that inspired me to choose their profession.
The first was Mrs. Sealy, from Luther Burbank school in Artesia, California. She was my first teacher. She ingrained in me a lifelong love of teaching and learning. I was a very shy young girl. My family moved a lot...my older sister had attended eleven schools by second grade. I would attend more than thirty in my school career. Mrs. Sealy understood that I was shy - and encouraged me to do my best while not requiring I read aloud in class or stand in front of the class to give a report. She also had me work with children who needed more help than I did, therefore allowing me to make friends I would not have made otherwise.
The second teacher was Mr. Wasinger, from Nelson/Hemphill Elementary in Haysville. Kansas. He co-taught a huge fifth grade class. He worked with Mrs. Kennedy, who was actually my assigned teacher. Mr. Wasinger instilled in me a greater love of reading and writing. He read to us daily and at least once or twice a week, we wrote. We wrote poems, stories, essays, and many other things. The story I most remember him reading to us was "Where The Red Fern Grows," by Wilson Rawls.I read that story to my students every year that I teach fifth-graders.
Both teachers taught me that to be a great teacher you have to love children and love helping them learn. And have fun while doing it. They showed me that building relationships with students was the single most important thing you could do to help a child learn.
I did not get into teaching for the money. I have a master's degree in Special Education. Most professionals that I know with master's degrees make two or three times more money than I do. My district - and my state - has had some major budget issues in the last three years. Almost everything related to education budgets have been cut. That means that we are not getting items that we need to best teach our students. That also meant that teachers have not received a pay raise in three years - and it doesn't look good for the near future, either.
I did not get into teaching for summer's off. In fifteen years, I have not had a summer off. I have taken extra classes to renew my teaching certificate - at my own expense. I have taught summer school classes. I have taught at a special education program. This past summer I started a free tutoring service for children who needed extra help but whose parents could not afford the national tutoring services - because summer school for regular education students was also cut.
I did not get into teaching for the prestige. Although teaching is a prestigious profession, not all parents that you deal with feel the same way. They believe that you are at school for the sole purpose of teaching their one precious child to the exclusion of all other children. If you decide that the rest of the class needs to be taught, these particular parents go to the school board and complain that you are not doing your job right.
I did not get into teaching for the health/dental/etc. insurance. In my district, we have to pay a healthy price for our insurance. It's not the worst insurance in the world...and it's not the best. We have higher co-pays than in the past. Insurance is a decent perk...but it's not the reason I teach.
I get lots of great perks in my job - none of which came from union/school board decisions. The perks I get can't be negotiated for. You have to earn them. You earn them by building relationships with wonderful young children. You earn them by making learning a positive experience. You earn them by providing positive discipline for your students.
My perks are sticky hugs, handmade construction paper cards, stuffed animals brought from home and unconditional love. My perks are the "light bulb" moments when a child finally "gets it" and high fives from students on their way home. My perks are former students coming back...some with their own children...and telling me that I was their "favorite" teacher.
These perks are the reasons I teach. My "top" list of reasons I teach has only one item - I teach for the children.
After rereading the hub that inspired me to write this I discovered that this other hub writer and I have very much in common. Thank you for inspiring me to write my "list"!!