Friday, May 11, 2012

Why I teach.

There are days when I ask myself this question--and as sure as April turns to May (and then June), I find myself asking it over and over. Maybe it is because I teach high school and I am surrounded by teenagers most of the day; sponsor teenage activities, go to high school sports and so on--I get to ‘live’ high school all the time. Or it maybe that my students senioritis has finally begun to affect me and I find that my patience for them and their lack of motivation is driving my nuts.  It may also be because being a teacher, a really good teacher, is reaching out to kids who-- all ages, levels and abilities and making learning personal to them--which can be SO hard to do.

I became a teacher because I wanted students to be excited about learning. Once I realized that learning was about how to do things and not remembering random ideas and facts, it became easier and made more sense, more practical. I know many of my students question whether they will ever use the information I teach again--especially since I teach social studies. Hopefully one day one of my students will watch the news and see what is going on in the world and say... "hey, we talked about this in class." Or that they will vote and become active citizens in the process.  I work hard to help my students (and now my own)  make sense of the world we live in, where we come from and where we could go. It's such an incredible challenge, so when a student ‘gets it’ or really embraces the ideas, it is amazing and rewarding, and wonderful. It's what makes the job of teaching so much fun and at the same time, so exhausting.

Today marks twenty eight days (if you include the weekends) until school lets out for summer. Yes I have a countdown... most teachers do (even if they don't say it out loud). It seems like a long time, but it isn’t. The time will vaporize before my eyes and then it will be summer vacation--but it will too go so fast, and I’ll be back prepping for and working with kids again next fall.  But today, as the seniors enjoy their class trip and my freshmen review for the state SOLs – I will take the time to stop and appreciate just how far my kiddos have come. Today will go by so quickly and I won't get it back-- I had better make every minute count.

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