Usually when I tell people that I am a teacher, they respond by saying something like this: “Oh really, I’m sorry,” “God bless you,” or “They just need to pay y’all better.” Every once in a while, someone might have some encouraging words to share, but for the most part, the responses are usually really sad. So from now on when they respond with their litany of “bless your heart” responses, I’m going to head them off with a response of my own.
This is what I’ll say…
Before you make any sympathetic remarks about my decision to become a teacher, let me tell you why I teach. I teach because I chose to become a teacher. I love English. I love reading books, and I actually enjoy writing papers.
I teach because when I was a junior in high school, someone loved teaching so much that her joy was contagious, and once she saw that she had ignited my interest for literature, she cared enough to foster that interest and to share her joy with me. Because of her, I thought that I could share that same joy with others. So I became a teacher.
As a teacher, I made it my business to obtain a higher degree and national certification in my craft; a craft that I chose. I made the decision to be the best teacher that I could be, just as anyone else would who has a passion for their profession.
So the next time you come across someone who happens to be a teacher, don’t offer your condolences, don’t offer your pity, don’t offer your judgement, just offer this: to teach your children how to be the best people they can be. Promise to make it your priority to teach your children to love reading and learning, to respect authority figures, and most important, teach them to be responsible citizens and community leaders. What’s more, instead of feeling sorry for teachers, take the time to vote for people who actually care about your children’s education, and I guarantee if you do these things, you will never have to feel sorry for a teacher again. But until you are able to do these things, the next time you see a teacher, simply thank him or her for choosing to do what makes many a parent shudder: spend 180 days with your children trying to mold their minds and encourage their dreams all while competing with their electronic devices and hormones.
From a teacher with 15 years of experience
Thank you Barbara King for igniting the spark in me!