This is a hard question…There are several reasons why I teach and why I think it is such an important career.
I want to make a positive impact on the next generation. I did this for years in public high schools, teaching math and coaching soccer. Each year was fun and different, the students were new (most of them) to me and we would start our year long journey. I enjoyed coaching soccer as well. I have had the opportunity to coach both boys and girls and they were fun young people to be around. I did not get into teaching to coach soccer, far from it. I knew nothing about soccer when I first started. Soccer coaching wasn’t who I was, it was another place that I was able to teach.
I had passion to help teenagers understand math. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Math is my worst subject” or “I don’t really like math” or “I have to take this class…(said with disgust and whiney)” I also can’t tell you how many conversations that I stopped dead in their tracks when meeting someone new:
Me: Hi, I’m Scott! (jovially extends hand to shake with new person)
New person: Hi, I’m Mr. Doe (shakes hand), what do you do Scott?
Me: I teach Calculus! (in a super cheerful I cant believe I get to do this voice)
New person: I hated math, imagine that…. (walks to any other place in the room)
On the flip side – those students! So much fun! And getting to make a small impact on their lives?! Forget about it! Its the reason that I would do crazy things like, have a henna tattoo put on my head. Or get a pink mohawk. Or ago bald. The point is – I loved every minute. I didn’t know what was in store for me when I started. I just knew that this was something that I had to do. It was this inner need to pour into others and help them be the most brilliant people they could be.
Maybe I love the vibe that can only be found in a school – you know the one. You can’t explain it, but its there. Lurking around every corner. Heard in every assembly. On display for all during vocal and orchestral concerts. Schools are amazing places to spend time. And if you get to leave a positive mark, even better. Teaching gives you the opportunity to live like Peter Pan – you don’t necessarily have to grow up. You can stay young at heart!
There have been some super fun and totally unexpected perks along the way. Getting the opportunity to be the building teacher of the year was unexpected, but so darn humbling and totally cool. The one time a student asked to trade Calculus tutoring for free babysitting? We used her for the next six years until she graduated from college. How about the player that I was able to coach for all four years of her high school career? Made that memory too!
There is always that one student, who never really takes life seriously, and you worry about. Like, hey this guy, I hope his parents are loaded, hello basement. Then he aces everything you send his way…He also rewards you with a most life like caricature.
I guess I can’t really tell you why I teach, I have to show you. And these did not happen overnight. It took time and relationship building. It took hard work and sleepless nights. I WANTED TO DO THIS! Are you kiddingme?!