As we count down the final days of school, I always like to stop and reflect. Yes, I am tired and probably looking a little haggard, but I really love my job. And I’m not just saying that because June and July are right around the corner!
Teaching truly is a wonderful profession, and here’s why (in case you need reminding!):
Students: The students are my favorite part of this gig. They make me smile every day. I laugh at the funny things they say and love when they giggle with delight. I tear up at the random acts of kindness I see students do for their classmates. I love seeing them work hard and feel pride when they master concepts. I love their energy and they always keep me on my toes. Kids are unassuming, honest, and forgiving. To me, they are pure joy and make my heart full. Even the most challenging students teach me things I never thought I was capable of.
Families: I’m not sure who I love more between my students and their families. I enjoy creating a bond and partnership with my families, and they often come back year after year to keep me updated, which I love! For one year, I become an important part of their lives. I’m talked about at the dinner table, in the car, and with friends and relatives. I might sound like an Olive Garden commercial, but I tell my families that when you are in my class, you are like family—and I mean it! I am fortunate because I live close to my school, so I often run into families at the grocery store, local high school games, etc. (Important note: On certain grungy days, I shop across town!) Overall, being part of the community in which I teach gives me a greater sense of purpose.
Growth: The academic and social growth I see in my students each year is amazing. Over the course of approximately 175 days, I watch my students go through a remarkable transformation. Some students may enter my classroom speaking little to no English, but are happily conversing with friends on the playground by the end of the school year. Other students come with no reading skills and are reading chapter books in May. Some students enter the year having experienced a traumatic event, but they have persevered and can now properly work through their emotions. The fact that I have played a role in their achievements—giving a quality education with best practice teaching—is what it’s all about.
Creativity: Teachers are some of the most creative people on the planet: artists, writers, mathematicians, musicians, athletes, actors, and scientists, just to name a few! I love bouncing ideas off my coworkers to make learning more engaging and fun. Together we have come up with many wonderful lessons and units in order to create a valuable and memorable experience for our students. Sometimes I honestly feel like I am center stage giving a theatrical performance to my audience (my students). I sing, I dance, and I’ve even been known to crawl across the floor to demonstrate a concept. Being able to be creative on a daily basis fulfills a side of me that keeps things fresh and enjoyable.
Lifelong learning: What’s just as much fun as teaching? Learning! And I get to do it all the time. The only constant in education is that it continually changes. As educators, it is up to us to keep current with the latest educational topics and research. If you have been in the classroom long enough, you start to see concepts circle back and think, “I’ve been teaching that for years!” But when it circles back, it’s usually better than before. I equate this to fashion: flare jeans are back (yay!), but the style has been changed just enough that you wouldn’t want to pull your old ones from the 70s out because the new version is so much better. As educators, we need to trust the research and be willing to implement new strategies and curricula.
Schedule: Everyone knows that teachers work late, bring home bags of projects and papers to grade, and usually work over the summer or engage in professional development. But our schedule rocks! Seriously, we get off work early enough to get to the bank before it closes, have a late afternoon appointment with our doctor, or get a workout in all before the dinner hour. We get almost two weeks off over the holidays, a week off during the spring, and two months off in the summer. Since we are lifelong learners, we are always working, but we have freedom in our schedule during this time to choose what will work best for us and our families. As a mom, it has been wonderful to be on the same schedule as my children—it has made family time all the more enriching.
As you come to the end of your school year, I hope you can look back and reflect on the positive side of the profession. Teaching is hard work and often draining, but we are changing the world—one student at a time.
What’s your favorite part about teaching? Let us know in the comments below! To connect with fellow educators to discuss topics like this, share lesson plans, and download engaging activities for your classroom, consider joining MimioConnect™, our online educator community.