“This job is who I am and I am proud to be a teacher.” Cindy Minnich
Last Friday, Beth Shaum posted a video on her blog that showed dozens of teachers from around the country sharing their reasons for staying in education. Since then, a number of other teachers have written about their reasons for remaining in the classroom, despite changes in curriculum because of CCSS, new testing, and new evaluations that are being imposed on educators. (Did I leave anything out?)
My first thoughts were about my own reasons for continuing to teach. Honestly, after 18 years, I don’t know what else I would do. Teaching has woven itself into my very being. Like many of you, I wake up in the night thinking about students and rehearse lesson plans in my mind while showering. Once I even got an idea for a math workstation at the local pizza parlor while waiting for our dinner to be served, and it was July! (My husband wasn’t pleased.) But there are so many other reasons.
I stay because I love it when kids come up to me in the hallway or cafeteria and say, “Mrs. Flynn, I’m reading The Hobbit!” or “I just finished The One and Only Ivan. Did you read it?” I love when students stop at my door to examine my book recommendations.
I stay because I love it when a parent thanks me for helping their child become a reader.
I stay because I love when former students write to me, thanking me for helping them become better writers. Better yet, I love it that a former student is now a colleague, grown into a passionate educator herself.
I stay because I love working with my colleagues to find just the right resource, just the right book, just the right solution to a problem.
I stay because I know the work I do matters. Today at Two Writing Teachers, Stacey shared LeAnn Carpenter’s poem, “Writers at Work.” It could easily be called “Teachers at Work.” The last line is “writers create.” That’s what teachers do: we create caring, compassionate, literate citizens. Helping students learn to read and write and think is the most important work teachers do.
I debated about whether or not I should write this today. So many smart, articulate people have said all this and more already. But then I decided that’s exactly why I should write this. I want to add my OUTSIDE VOICE to all the others, shouting loud and clear: I AM A TEACHER. I AM A PROFESSIONAL. I KNOW IN MY HEART I AM GIVING MY STUDENTS THE BEST I CAN GIVE. THEY DESERVE NOTHING LESS.