|at Two Writing Teachers!|
I'm going to be completely honest: sometimes I think about quitting. Occasionally, I used to wonder if I'd become part of those sad statistics about the incredible number of new teachers who quit within the first three or five years of teaching. But here I am, still pushing through year six!
Some days, I battle back tears as I drive home, and I wonder if I can keep doing this for years. I wonder what my life would be like if I had become an engineer (my major through my freshman year of college). In the morning, I pry my exhausted body out of bed in the dark and do my best imitation of Mr. Holland's Opus: "What kind of person goes to work at 7:00 in the morning?!" But I get up anyway, and by the time my students walk through my classroom door, I'm waiting to greet them with a huge smile.
I teach because I want to change the world.
- I believe that I can design my instruction and my classroom in a way that will help my students become more tolerant, empathetic, compassionate people.
- I believe that I can give my students skills and confidence they can use to follow their dreams and affect the world in ways I can't even imagine.
- I believe that my life can shine in a way that helps my students see what is possible when you live with love and enthusiasm.
I teach because I want to change lives.
- I believe that every student has a reader and a writer hiding somewhere inside. I want to help all of my students discover how to lose themselves in books and how to pour out the stories of their hearts.
- I believe that students who flick their eyes from the ceiling to the clock to the floor during reading time in the fall can come rushing into my room, waving a book and shouting about it in the spring... and I've seen it happen.
- I believe that students who stare at a blank page for over a half hour in the fall can write heartfelt paragraphs and poems in under twenty minutes in the spring... and I've seen that happen too.
- I believe that I can help my students catch a love of learning that will propel them through their lives.
- I believe that one teacher is enough to make a difference.
I teach because I love my students and I know they need the kind of teacher I try to be.
- I know that my students need smiles, encouraging comments, and quick little conversations about their lives.
- I know that my students need hugs, tissues, moments in the hallway, and a safe place to come when their worlds are falling apart.
- I know that my students need snacks, dollars, change, and a place to work on the computer before and after school.
- I know that my students need listening ears, chances to ask hard questions, and guidance about things I don't even begin to have answers to, but I know they just need me to try.
- I know that my students need celebrations, treats, and thoughtful feedback.
- I know that my students need authentic, meaningful learning opportunities that allow them to bring their own experiences and connect to others.
- I know that my students need to see adults who are still reading, still writing, and still learning.
- I know that my students and their families need someone they trust to help them navigate this befuddling world of free lunch, residency verification, Title I programs, testing, lectures, college applications, and so much more... all in a new language.
- I know that my students need someone to speak up for them to other students and staff who don't know or don't understand what they are going through.
- I know that my students need someone who also struggles with thinking of a word in the wrong language, being unable to find a phrase in the right language that expresses a certain concept, yearning for a different pace of life, craving a food that just can't be found here, and all the other issues of those who "carry another home in their hearts" (as Silas House and Neela Vaswani so eloquently described it in Same Sun Here).
I teach because I can't imagine doing anything else.