Feed Them On Your Dreams

Why did I want to be a teacher? This is a question I am asking myself daily. Not because I'm finding the experience so horrific (although that's a good guess), but because I have to constantly remind myself what the goal of this entire experience was when I first enrolled in the Teaching Fellows program.

For example, when soliciting advice from seasoned teachers I have heard the suggestion to "embarrass and humiliate them" if they are doing something they're not supposed to. So, I ask, "Why did I want to be a teacher?" Not to resort to verbal abuse and humiliation, even if it achieves complete control. I will get control of my classroom, but not using means that undermine my end - to lift kids up and help them achieve.

Or, after a day of ALP giving me his usual mouthful of disrespect and contempt, I have to ask, "Why did I want to be a teacher?" Not to let a troubled 10 year-old run me out of my classroom and ruin teaching and learning for me and 25 other kids. So if getting ALP out of my classroom means admitting defeat, I'm fine with that. I'll just file it under losing the battle, but not the war. Because I'm tired of letting one kid destroy a day of learning for the whole class.

I wanted to be a teacher, because I sincerely believe it represents a chance to change the world. It's cheesy and a bit self-aggrandizing, but it's the truth. We pursue our careers of choice to make some sort of mark on the world whether it's through medicine, business, law or education. Even if I don't make teaching my career I wanted a chance to leave my mark on the world. I'm not saying I'm bringing about global change, but when it's all said and done I hope I can say I did something that left the world better than before I got here.

When it's 6 am "Why did I want to be a teacher?" sounds like a very different question. But at the end of the day, asking myself that question helps remind me that I'm not doing this for a paycheck, summer vacation or life experience. Hopefully in 8 months when I'm finally enjoying that vacation I'll be able to read this post, and say I earned it; I did what I set out to do.


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