Have you ever had a week where you question why you are doing what you are doing? That was me this week. I often caught myself wondering why I was putting in so much hard work for the output it seemed like I was getting. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love teaching and there really is nothing else I would rather do, but lately I am becoming quite frustrated with the education world. That is why I decided it would be a good idea to remember why I decided to become a teacher and what my goals are as a teacher.
I've wanted to teach since I was a little girl teaching to my teddy bears. I've always enjoyed learning and finding fun ways to teach things to other people. The idea of getting other people to be passionate about a subject was very intriguing to me. So I went to college and got my undergraduate degree in elementary education. During my first job teaching I fell in love with helping students with disabilities. That is when I decided to get my masters in special education. I wanted more knowledge to better help all levels of learners that came into my classroom.
Now as a second year teacher I spend so much time thinking about how I can each individual student. I believe that every student has a story behind who they are, that is worth learning about. There are those students who will test you and make you sometimes feel as though you wish they weren't a part of your class. Usually when you take the time to get to know them you realize it isn't because they are just a bad kid, it is that they have been living through bad situations. Maybe those kids won't be the kids that make all A's, but they could be the kids that I teach a life lesson to, which in their world could mean more than great grades. Then there are those kids who think they know everything and have to have their say in class. It is easy to want to constantly ignore them and shrug them off because they already know what they need to know. However, getting to know them better you often see that they are dying for attention because they don't get it anywhere else. There are many other types of students, but my point is that I want to find a way to help every student succeed. Success doesn't have to be measured by grades either. I like to measure success on an individual basis. If my students grow throughout the year in some positive way then I feel that it is been as successful year.
It is so easy to get frustrated as a teacher because not every child is behaving in the perfect way or making the best grades. However, when you look behind what you see at school you can understand why they act the way that they do. If I have any goal at all it is to make every child see that they can be successful no matter what life circumstances stand in their way. Sometimes students just need someone to believe in them.
So yes, the excessive amount of paperwork is tedious, sometimes co-workers aren't the most respectful, and situations come up that don't seem fair; but those things aren't part of why I became a teacher. I am a teacher because I want to be the person my students know believes in them. I'm a teacher because I want to give children a passion for learning. I'm a teacher because I love seeing a real smile on my students faces. Those things are worth every bad day that I've had and will have. There is no doubt that teaching is hard, but remembering my vision makes it much easier.