Teachers bare their souls to explain what keeps them going in spite of all the challenges they face on the job
Regular Feature in the Gazette
May 1, 2008
Seeking encouragement and inspiration, a teacher turned to the teaching professionals on the High School Chatboard to ask:
What keeps you going in spite of all the challenges teachers face? What is it about teaching??
Teachers face so many challenges and difficulties every day. What encourages and inspires you to keep on keeping on?
The responses provide encouragement, but are also a glimpse into the heart and soul of Teachers.
Posted by here's mine »
Have you ever seen the light bulb go off in a kid's head? When you see someone finally understand what you have been trying so hard to teach him or her, there is a light bulb effect. Their face lights up, they are so excited. That is what we live for.
Posted by Pam »
I have to admit that the hours and the days off influence me in liking my job. I would be lying to you if I said otherwise. However, I have come to teaching late in life after a 20 year career in business, with 10 hour days, 6 day work weeks, and most of that time spent in the company of people who were motivated by greed and selfishness. Now I get to spend my days with young people who have their lives ahead of them, who are not yet jaded by the ways of the world. I have the privilege of trying to help them develop a sense of what is really important in life: self worth, caring about other people, integrity, and teaching them that goals are dreams with a plan. Even as they rush to grow up, I try to remind them to hold onto a sense of wonder and to appreciate beauty and simple things. I did these things for my own children for free and now I get paid to continue the journey with my students.
Posted by Jen »
I, too, came to teaching later in life. I changed careers because I thought I could make a difference. Seven years later, I still believe that.
Posted by Btrack »
Even on the worst of days in my classroom, my peers and administration are a great support network. I like the fact that my work environment is fast-paced and interactive. I could never take a desk job after this. I like the energy of the kids (most of the time!) and feed off of that. Of course, the time off is the best part!
Posted by Ms. M »
I am also a career changer and I love that I am never, ever, bored. I may be so stressed that I want to cry at times, but teaching is like an ever-changing puzzle. As soon as you figure out the answer, the question changes. Frustrating? Sure. But it keeps me on my toes in a way that nothing else ever has. And the students (8th grade) make me laugh my butt off.
Posted by clare »
That's it, the ever-changing puzzle! It's impossible to become stagnant in this career, because we have the chance to be so many things at once: guide, mentor, philosopher, psychologist--which forces us to keep growing. Honestly, what keeps me coming back every year is the self-awareness I have gained through teaching. As Emerson said, "One cannot truly help others without helping himself." What other job provides this much satisfaction on a daily basis?
Posted by Ennen »
My days are NEVER the same. My kids (HS juniors and seniors) are so creative and funny, they are so excited about the next phase of their life, I love assisting with that. My bosses trust me to do what's best for my classroom. My colleagues are great friends and are happy to be there, too. Sound like a dream? It sometimes seems that way to me, too!
Posted by former banker »
I think all jobs have their challenges - before I became a teacher I worked in a bank. It was Very Boring. Does anybody think teaching is boring? I surely don't. So I like teaching for the fact that it isn't boring in the least (faculty meetings are terribly boring) and I like kids. I actually think it's the folks who don't like kids so much who feel teaching to be a Great Drag.
And - I need to make a living. I find lots of teachers talk a good game about getting out but very, very few do - why is that? Teaching is a 9 months of the year job with two nice breaks at the holidays. I usually don't leave until 5 but if I have to I can leave shortly after 3 and my husband doesn't leave his work until 7. It does have its perks - let's be honest. And if you trained to be a teacher and around here we start now at $45,000 a year - where else do you start at that with a four year BA in history??
Also, I like history. When you ask, "What is it about teaching?" some of it is that many teachers have only been teachers - they've never worked outside of a school and as a consequence they have little perspective. There are other hard jobs out there. I find kids to be fun - I like their energy and even their hi-jinks so long as they're good-spirited, and when they're not, I find there's a reason for it.
I do think it's hard to be on your feet all day - what inspires me to keep doing that? 'Cause the second I sit down, chaos ensues. Classroom management is done best on my feet.
Posted by Toscanoy »
Sharing with other people things that interest you. Students that really want to learn. Joking around with the students. Having a job that will help the world around you. Summers...:)