I believe that teaching is the most rewarding, positive, and powerful career that one can be fortunate enough to have. Teaching is so much more than curriculum and standardized tests. Teaching is an adventure every single day. Teaching is being a good listener and a shoulder to cry on. Teaching is knowing how to get 24 eight year olds to be quiet by simply raising your hand. Teaching is knowing when to use your “teacher voice” and when to just observe the magic that is happening around you. Teaching is taking advantage of the opportunity to learn something new every single day and sharing that with others. Teaching is being able to work yourself to the point of exhaustion one day and being excited to do it all again the next.
I find rewards in teaching every single day. That moment when a student suddenly understands how to solve the dreaded multi-step word problems. The moment when a parent tells you that you changed their child’s aversion to reading and now their child asks to stay up 15 minutes later than normal so they can finish the chapter they’re on. That moment when your most difficult student ever (seriously, I could write a book AND an after school special on this one) tells you that you were the first person to ever believe he was smart.
He came into my class of 28 in October with a huge chip on his shoulder and no respect for anyone who crossed his path. He spoke of gangs, weapons, and drugs like other boys talk about cartoon characters, toy cars, and candy. He had an IEP for literacy and was brilliant in math. He broke most every rule, got suspended numerous times, and intimidated his classmates. I knew I could help him.
We eventually formed an understanding of each other. He needed to be treated as a 9 year old. He needed to know it was okay to be successful and that he was so capable of being whatever he wanted to be. He began to understand how much I cared for and believed in him. He began to enjoy school. The day I sat next to him on the playground steps and told him that he scored 4’s on his EOG we both got tears in our eyes.He came back last year to tell me that he was doing really well in 7th grade and still wanted to be a lawyer when he graduates from college. It doesn’t get better than that.