Why I Teach

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 6.17.34 PMGoal 12: Why Do I Teach? of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. Click the link to find out more or join our our 30 Goals Facebook community.

“If your actions in the classroom inspire children to achieve more, question more, and dream more, you are indeed worthy of the title “Teacher.” – Robert John Meehan

Today’s goal was inspired by Sylvia Guinan, a teacher in Greece, who asked teachers worldwide why they teach and wrote about it here. Sylvia received many responses from teachers worldwide. I like this goal, because it helps us to reflect on our purpose for teaching and reminds us why we chose this profession. We need these reminders, because teaching is extremely stressful and the stress sometimes makes us bitter or burnt-out. For this goal:
Short-term– List the reasons you teach. Feel free to share them with us in our 30 Goals Facebook community or using the #30GoalsEdu hashtag.
Long-term– Find ways to frequently remind yourself of the importance of your position. My Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) is what keeps me inspired. The educators I connect with online support me, mentor me, give me continuous inspiration, and feed me with ideas.

Why Do I Teach?

Growing up, I never wanted to be a teacher. I admired many of my teachers. I felt their compassion and saw how hard they worked even at the sacrifice of their health and personal life. Teacher movies are full of examples of the hardships teachers face on the road to doing something great with their students. In Freedom Writers, Erin Gruwell, ends up divorced. In Dangerous Minds and in The Dead Poet’s Society, the teachers experience the death of their students they tried to save.
Being a teacher is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It requires an enormous amount of compassion, self sacrifice, and inner strength. Teachers go through the same amount of schooling as other professions that pay much more and offer more freedom and benefits.
When I met my first batch of students, I began to understand. The inner city church I attended, hosted  classes for kids. They needed someone to teach the class. My sister and I volunteered. We had 100 children in one room we taught for an hour, twice each week. During the first month, they pretty much ran wild. During the first class, one girl did cartwheels around me for most of that hour while I tried to tell the other 99 to settle down. My church, though, did give us textbooks, and the previous teacher began to give us ideas. We were even sent to learn about using puppets, drama, etc. for teaching children. The church ingrained in us that the purpose of being a children’s church teacher was to help the children have fun and show them how much we care about them.
These kids came from very difficult home situations. Many of their parents were either in jail or halfway houses, recovering drug addicts, teenagers, gang members, or absent. They were poor. Eventually, I learned classroom management and techniques that enabled me to see the beauty of what a teacher gives. We had fun, I had those teachable moments, and I got plenty of hugs and smiles. This was in 1994 and years later I still love this profession.
There are many reasons why I teach. I made this slideshow of what I basically believe.

More Resources

Challenge:

List the reasons you teach.

Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, or adding a comment below! All goals are organized in this 30 Goals Livebinder.

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