/> Raising Angels: Why I Teach

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I Teach

This morning my class was discussing Jack Kerouac. Because of his love for the solitude of nature, I decided to move class to the courtyard.

As I began the discussion, one student interrupted. "Mrs. Parris? This is a short one; do you think you can read it out loud?"

The rest of the class wholeheartedly agreed so, I obliged. As I read the selection, I stopped occasionally to get their reactions and thoughts. I was amazed to see their faces staring back at me with interest. They were engaged and I was excited.

It was the picture of a perfect literature class - drinking in thoughtful descriptions, revealing personal fears, laughing over our faults, hearing the voice of the author speaking to us.

Teaching is often a thankless, underappreciated, time-consuming endeavor. There have been many times this year that I have bemoaned the fact that I love a profession that is so over-worked and underpaid. It does nothing to help the budget. In moments (and I'm happy to say they are few and far between) like this, going to work is hard.

However, lots of times there are moments like the one we had today that remind me why I do what I do. Moments when you know you have the hearts and minds of the next generation in the palm of your hand. Moments when you see the light go off in their eyes and you know they get it. Moments when you make a memory, an impression that you hope they will remember for years to come.

I didn't choose to be a teacher because of the financial opportunities. I chose to be a teacher because I love learning, adore kids, and enjoy having the stage for a few moments every day. I chose to teach because I wanted to change the world. I wanted to touch someone's soul. I wanted to make a difference.

Lofty goals like this don't often feel as if they are being achieved in the throws of vocabulary tests, research writing and assigned reading. But today, in a little courtyard, reading Kerouac, it did.

Being a teacher is not what I do, it's who I am. And today it felt really, really good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully put!

12:55 PM  

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