When I began teaching at a very young age, I did it because the people around me said they saw a love for children in me. Also, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in when I got to college. I loved the performing arts and was successful with acting in high school, but I was often told it might not make me enough money to survive. I also dreamed of writing but knew that, to get a book deal and make money, could be another nearly impossible mission… so teaching it was.
I was also told, of course, that teaching didn’t pay well nor would I be compensated for all the work I would be doing, but regardless, I was immediately drawn to it. Money was NOT one of the reasons I chose to teach! Whoever said that, was 200% right, by the way. I always dipped into my pocket (and still do) for materials to decorate my classroom and extra goodies my students use. Materials like paper, copy paper, pencils and folders are purchased with my own money. The school provides students with a supply list BUT what if a few kids don’t bring in everything they’ll need? Is it their fault? Do I leave them without supplies? Of course not! I didn’t become a teacher to become rich! I’m dipping into my own pocket and cover the missing items myself.
My courses in college did NOT prepare me for what was waiting for me in the classroom! All of my textbooks went out the door! I was confronted with anywhere from 20-28 different personalities which isn’t something that wasn’t covered in any handbook! It’s tough dealing with one personality other than your own, imagine more than 20!? You think I’m still thinking about money as I try to manage a classroom of rambunctious kids?!
Oh, and let us not forget those holidays off. Many people love to say teachers choose this profession for the holidays and long vacations! This is simply not so. During holidays, we are continuing to enrich our lesson plans for the new year and gathering ideas to stimulate the minds of the students who await us as we create a game plan to keep them focused. Grading writing assignments, scoring assessments and sometimes even creating assessments or figuring out how to differentiate instruction fill our days ‘off’. Our minds are always on the prowl. When we finally get to summer, we can’t get it together, let alone get a good night’s rest because our minds are on constant overdrive throughout the year! When we get ourselves into a routine with our family, it’s time to go right back into the classroom and do it all over again!
The bottom line is that the reasons I indicated above are all NOT the reason why I became a teacher, of course NOT! When I think back, now that I’m on summer ‘break’ (laughs), why I’ve become a teacher is for all of those reasons mentioned above but in a completely opposite way. It gives me great pleasure to help kids, especially those who come in unprepared and not very well guided! It’s tough to be confronted with all those personalities, but if you can walk away supporting even one personality to go from a negative to a positive, it’s an accomplishment!
Care to share: Why do you respect the teaching profession so much? Do you think some teachers do it for all the wrong reasons? Weigh in….
Last but not least, I credit my teaching since a very young age for allowing me to multitask and be an effective and efficient mother & teacher. I knew the parent I wanted to be with my own children from the models that I saw over the years. As I formulate all of these thoughts in my head I’m on my summer ‘break’ (laughs again), but I’m still thinking about my classroom children from just this past year. I hope they are safe and enjoying their childhood. At the same time, I’m also thinking about the new class I will be welcoming in the Fall, and how I have the best career in the world – I get to shape the minds of the future, no other reasons necessary!