A Reason to Teach
Google “the problem with our schools” and you will find roughly 300 MILLION links to click. Words like funding, charter, standards, private, public, test scores, mergers, no child left behind, economic status, and Superman are part of daily conversations. Individual experiences and situations motivate each response. One can say the fact that there is such an emotional force behind the conversations about school problems shows the passion for our children and our school systems. There is a river of frustration that winds itself throughout all of us in some way. We realize that in life there will almost certainly come bad with the good. Our children deserve the best education they can possibly get. So instead of letting our love of children be affected by the daily bitterness, let’s decide to work with the resources we have – no matter how few – and approach our children with confidence and reassurance.
Do you remember why we became educators? We weren’t thinking about standardized testing. It wasn’t about uniforms, bussing, race, or the ratio of teachers to students. It was about the love of learning; the love of children. It was about passing along the inspiration of hope. Educators provide one, if not the, most important resource to the world’s children: How to acquire KNOWLEDGE. That should get you going in the morning. That should keep a smile on your face.
Yes, you are one of those committed public servants that go out and buy pencils and supplies with your own money because you can’t get the simple resources you need to do your job. Yes, you are one of those amazing teachers who are willing to spend time before and after school to help students who are struggling to keep up. You may never get the official recognition you deserve for going above and beyond. Teachers are one of the most selfless, under-appreciated, professions in our society.
That being said, remember you may also be the one friend, mentor, or acting-parent to a child that needs hope. You may be the one person providing a means to something better. You are the one that believes in the child when others may have given up. You provide a hope that he or she can make it in what seems to be an increasingly bitter educational system.
There are others that affect the educational process. Parents should be held accountable. The administration definitely plays a key role. But you are the face students see day after day. You are the person they can count on to love them for who they are. You provide encouragement and pride in their abilities no matter what level they are climbing. Turn the competitiveness and resentment towards the problems in our educational system into a reason to teach better. Nourish a positive attitude of bright futures and smiling faces inside your classroom. There are a lot of things within the educational system we can’t control. But we can control how we choose to face each day and each student.
And if you’re having a bad day or feeling disgusted with the politics of it all, remind yourself of this:
- How children have an amazing way of making us smile.
- How their imaginations, observations, and curiosity are truly genuine.
- Think about the compliments children give us without ever asking for anything in return.
- Think about those ah-hah moments when a child figures out they can read on their own and their face lights up with a smile; Or when a high school student gives a presentation to the class and gives you a look of accomplishment.
- How encouragement, recognition, and love don't cost anything.
When all else fails, tell yourself this:
You make a difference.
Video courtesy of Justin Tarte, http://justintarte.blogspot.com/