Why I Teach

Many of my friends, family, and colleagues know how rewarding I find my career.  It has not always been easy, nor has my profession always been kind to me.  But my work has brought blessings to my life that I will always cherish.

Today, I offer a brief meditation on my reasons for teaching.

I teach because I hated school when I was a student.  I found much of the material useless and irrelevant.  What I could relate to, I had already learned outside of school.  I disliked most of my classmates and virtually all of the adults in the building.  I had friends, but I did not need to be in school in order to see them.

I teach because my frustrations at school led me to close my mind to what it could offer.  I missed out on much, and as a grown-up, I have regained it many times over.

I teach because when I was a child, I learned in a decidedly atypical manner, and I relate today to students who struggle as I did–either with learning or with disaffection.

I teach because I felt socially isolated when I was young.  I have come to understand as an adult that the social component of school is a powerful element of learning.  And it is essential for our humanity.

I teach because I have had my share of moments when the world made no sense to me.  As an adult, I have come to see a microcosm in every school, in every classroom, in every learning interaction–even if it only involves one person.

I teach because I am to this day a student and admirer of life and awareness.  I get to be selfish in my pursuit of understanding, and I simultaneously have an opportunity to contribute to a community that means the world to me.

I teach because I know I will retire one day, and I have much I wish to enjoy before that day comes.  Not everyone gets to love their work.  I am deeply fortunate.

This is why I am a teacher.

Photo credit: Markus Spiske of Pexels

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March 2023 Slice of Life Challenge.

9 thoughts on “Why I Teach

  1. I love this honest and vulnerable post. The strongest sentiment for me is the social component is essential for our humanity. That’s true. The connection we feel with others is what keeps us going. That’s why we write, too. We write to feel seen and to let others know we see them. I hope you have a marvelous day.

  2. This is a beautiful sentence: “I teach because I am to this day a student and admirer of life and awareness.” I don’t know how anyone can teach w/ out always being a learner. I do know there are such people. How many students feel disaffected and on the fringe at school? This is disheartening. They need teachers who are empathetic, who have similar stories. It’s a good thought experiment to reflect on why we teach. It should be a regular practice.

    1. Thank you for evidently understanding what I meant. In a lot of ways, I am a professional learner, and I do my best to help students to depart from the mindset of perfunctory tasks. That mindset causes much of the disaffection you mention. And at your suggestion, I will make a regular practice of this.

  3. I had a substitute teacher ask me today why I teach middle school and I told him, “I teach because I love that no two days are ever the same!”

    1. Thanks, Rita. I am fortunate to have a profession that enables me to find fulfillment while making some kind of contribution to the wonderful community I serve. I acknowledge that blessing every day.

  4. Your post shows that when you aren’t happy with something, you can change it. Teaching is your way of changing what is often a very negative experience for learners. Go you!!!

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