If you had to do it over again, would you still choose to become a teacher?
That’s the question I was confronted with this afternoon by a student and his dad who think I should work at their wealth management company instead. The question, I felt – centered on my very decision to become a teacher and while I could have chosen one of various ways to answer it I replied with an instant ‘yes’ but told them I would think it over and get back to them with the ‘why’.
You see, my choice to become a teacher was not made lightly. This decision was a culmination of a process of reflection about what I wanted to do with my life. I have chosen a career in education because I believe it is what I was born to do. For as far back as I can remember, I knew. I have never considered any other option. Never.
Within the process of teaching, it is my continued hope to find both personal and professional renewal and so far I have not been disappointed. I have always wanted to be a part of a profession that made me a better person – a desk job would have bored the hell out of me! Besides, I know this may sound a little idealistic but it’s exactly the way I see it – I believe that while teachers individually and collectively may not have the ability to change our world, they definitely have the power to improve it.
Granted, there are times like now where my spirit slumps. I question whether or not I’m doing what I set out to do. For people like me, it’s easy to get caught up in the routines of everyday life and so I make a conscious decision to remind myself of why I do what I do.
I could be having the worst possible day but the minute I step into the classroom all else fades into an abyss of insignificance. For those 40 minutes or so nothing matters to me more than to teach and be taught. I love my students and choose to devote my life to them – I eat, sleep, and breathe this work. As a student, I had every type of teacher possible but I only remember the ones who were genuinely interested in my life, Today, I choose to be like them because every string in my heart still reverberates from the impact they had on me.
Like the famous line from the film Dead Poets Society I want to ensure that every child of mine makes their lives extraordinary! Beneath the piles of paperwork and stacks of policies and documentation and the numerous sleepless nights lies a very simple fact – I teach to make a difference.