Why *I* Teach

The past year or so has been rough for our profession.  We faced a constant barrage by the media, labeling us all as greedy, lazy clock punchers who were doing nothing more than glorified babysitting.  Our salaries and benefits were questioned because there is NO way anyone who is currently in the classroom is there to actually teach anyone anything.  I mean, we are all there to go home at 3pm and have the summers off.  Then, with revelations of horrible atrocities at the hands of a TINY MINUTE HANDFUL of teacher, ALL of us have been vilified and looked upon with suspicion.  And now, in the wake of a sad, mind-numbing tragedy, many of us are thinking about how...about WHY we should go on.

Well, let me tell you why *I* teach.

I teach because of Bryan M. who, while we were studying the rows of teeth that sharks have and how there is always one waiting behind it in case it breaks off during a feeding frenzy, made the connection to the American Revolution and how soldier formation mimicked that same pattern.

I teach because of Jackie, who came to me at the beginning of 5th grade and would read every word that began with the letter "t" teacher, because she knew that teacher began with t so she might as well guess....and by the end of 5th grade was actually reading.

I teach because of Michael, who told me he was "too poor" to ever do a project in school, yet came on the day the project was due with the proudest, most accomplished smile and a project made from materials we found in my room and research that we did during recess and lunch time.

I teach because of the immense joy being handed a sticker brings to a child.

I teach because of that moment when you are standing in front of a room full of children, telling about why the explorers first began to set out to explore the world, and realize that 30 pairs of eyes are all staring at you...hanging on every word.

I teach for bulletin boards and lesson planning and the excitement of finding that next amazing lesson to teach in my room.

I teach because of my fellow colleagues, who constantly are showing me what it means to go above and beyond in your chosen profession.

I teach because it is inside of me.  It is who I am.  It is what I love to do.

I teach because of letters like this:

So now you know why I teach.  Please tell me....Why do YOU teach?


  1. Well said. I teach/taught for the same reasons. I love seeing a child's eyes light up when they realize they know how to do something.

    I miss it.

  2. Great Post! I love helping my students learn, and watching them get excited about learning new things. Whenever I think about doing anything else but teaching, I know I wouldn't be satisfied. I believe it is like you said: Teaching is a part of me. It's who I am.

  3. This is so true! I'm posting it on Facebook! We need more positive media coverage for the profession, not just for us but for our students. I dream of a society that actually values learning instead of points, and tickets to supposed "good jobs".

    The Learning Metamorphosis

  4. What a great post! I teach because I love watching the lightbulb in a 5 year olds head go off. I teach because I think knowledge is power. I teach because each day I come to a job, that even though it has its difficulties, gives me hope for a better tomorrow. I teach because of the joy I see in children's eyes and because of the pride they take in each new accomplishment, rather it be writing their name for the very first time or because they just wrote 10 sentences with the sentence frame "I like the __." I love what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything different.

  5. I teach because I can't imagine doing anything else! My classroom kids are just like my biological kds at home, they all bring me the greatest joy! I am proud to be called their teacher.

  6. Beautifully said, Stephanie. These are the moments that keep us coming back each day.

  7. I teach because of sixth graders who are soooo afraid of junior high, they come back to their first grade teacher ( me) because first grade is "safe & where all the fun is!" They remember...so do I. My firsties will be in sixth grade someday. I hope they remember...:)

  8. I teach because I want to make a difference, and I love that every day is full of opportunities to grow and learn.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  9. I teach because of students like Talen, a 7th grader that has been in remedial math plus regular math for 3 years. We took an exit test yesterday and he passed by 1 point. He was so excited when I told him the awesome news. He hugged me and said he passed because he had an "awesomedly good" teacher that pushed him.
    I teach because of students like Seb, another 7th grader in the same situation. She was sad to be exited from the program until we sat down and talked thru her fears and concerns. I let her know I was still going to be watching out for her and would be there to help her become the person she wanted to be. She wiped away the tears, punched me on the arm, and jogged away.

  10. I couldn't have said it better. Oh, there are too many kiddos to mention, but this week? My sweet, dear new-to-our school student who has all sorts of stuff going on outside of school, not the least of which is the fact that her mother will be away for Christmas, and she lives with her brother and grandparents in a new (since September) town without all of her good friends and familiar stuff. She told me yesterday that her grandpa has had the tv on a lot and that she's scared of what happened in Newtown, misses her mom, etc. Giving her a hug and telling her that I was there for her is why I teach this week.

  11. Beautifully said. I teach for the moment that students realize I care about them. That I will be there through thick and thin.

  12. Thanks for this Stephanie. I teach because I love to see children growing in confidence and self esteem when they realize they CAN do it. I teach to see the smiles, listen to the curious questions, share ideas, and watch them grow. I just got home from our Christmas concert and the pride they felt when they performed for their parents was heart warming. Even my little monkeys looked like angels on stage. This is why I teach.


  13. You guys are giving me goosebumps. I am LOVING all of these stories. There really are a million reasons to teach and these stories are just a few of them. Thank you very much to all of you for sharing.

    Keep 'em coming!

  14. I absolutely love this Stephanie...it made me feel so proud to be in this profession. Happy holidays my friend!

  15. Awwwww Steph!!!! So inspiring and so true!!! We do it for us & because we love & believe in children. Hope you have a wonderful vacation!!! Rest & recharge :) xoxo

  16. I love this! I will create my post tomorrow and link back to yours. Powerful message. Thank you for the reminder of why we do what we do, and stick with it regardless of the odds.


  17. As promised, here it is!


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