Day 14: Why I Teach #AprilBlogADay Challenge

Day 14: Why do I teach...

It's easy to list all the ideals teachers hold about why we teach:
  • For the kids
  • For my community 
  • For generations that will follow
  • Because I want to make a difference Because I want to touch lives
  • Because it's my calling (Yes, John Dewey came to you, appearing in a vision!)

We all teach for all or most of these reasons.

I was a career changer. I wrote about it earlier in this April series. Teaching was always in the plan but I had been diverted. When I came back to this original path it was because change was necessary, new challenges were essential to push my growth and frankly, at the time, public health resources in NYC sucked unless you were really poor and I was working poor. I wanted health insurance. I wanted to be able to turn my heat on in the winter (I had been too poor the first year).  I wanted to not be a freelancer any more.  As one ages, these are powerful motivators.

I started out teaching for practical reasons.  I wanted to be able to stay in NYC and this was also a way for me to stay.

Once I began my MA, my focus shifted.  I loved learning about learning and I began to develop a philosophy about what was important to me.  That was 9 years ago. When I stepped into my first classroom, I would have used that list above, with a few others.  It feels like a lifetime ago as I come upon my 10 year New Yorkaversary.  

I teach because...Yesterday, at the end of second period, one of my juniors was lingering and I asked her to stay, asking what was wrong and the tears began to flow.  She is not a kid who usually cries...I told her to take her time, and she told me about her grandfather's death early Sunday morning.  It had happened very quickly, over 48 hour period.  He is in Ecuador and her Mother had flown down but my student was left here, with all her grief so close to the surface.  Moments like this are why I teach..because sometimes a kid needs a adult who is going to be there to catch them when they have the rug pulled out from under them.

I teach because...one of my 10th grade advisees returned to school this year pregnant.  Over the months leading up to the delivery of her baby earlier this month, she had many questions, concerns, misconceptions. We had a shower for her the week before she was due, complete with pink cupcakes and little toppers.  I had made a blanket in her favorite colors while I was home recovering.  Even if this path was not what I would have chosen for her, it is her path and we love her.  Her baby has 10 aunties in the 10th grade who love her baby and her, no matter what.  I teach because giving unconditionally is it's own reward.

Today I teach for many reasons on top of everything I have already included.  Today I Teach because

  • All students deserve access to great education and passionate educators, no matter what.
  • Teaching is my legacy.  I don't have children, but I have had many, many students over 7 years (this year alone I have over 160), there are 5 that have made the decision to go on to become teachers.  I know I did something right, to influence that decision to go into this profession.
  • Teaching is fluid, there is always something new to learn and I love that challenge of my career.
  • It is a career and not just a job...there is always room to grow, new roles to take on and adventures to be had.
  • The authentic moments are awesome.
  • I love watching kids walk across the stage for graduation and the pride that they feel at that moment, the first of many accomplishments they will include in their own legacy.
I teach because I love it, even on days I hate it, I still love it.  THIS is Why I Teach.

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