I am a teacher. Some days that's an exciting blend of learning, excitement, and cooperation. Some other days it's not even a blend. It's more of a chaotic, upside down, roller coaster. Or maybe a mood swing. Either way, it all seems to even out in the end and I like my job. In fact, honestly, most days it doesn't feel like a 'job' because it truly is fun to be surrounded by little kids all day and work with people that you can also call friends.
I am a teacher. I spend seven hours a day interacting with kids - talking, coaxing, listening, pushing, correcting, disciplining, modeling, and laughing. I spend another 2-3 hours every day organizing, correcting, copying, planning, collaborating, and reflecting. On weekends, I dedicate several hours to prepare for the week ahead, or look for materials for upcoming units of study. School is never far from my mind.
I am a teacher. I am constantly attending professional development to improve and learn more. I read educational blogs and books to keep up with current research and best practices. I spend every available moment at school talking with colleagues and comparing what works best and sharing ideas. I am a student myself and invigorated by learning. Not just the teacher, but a student also.
I am a teacher. I get yelled at by parents. I get defied by students. I get stood up for conferences. I get more work and less pay. I get headaches. I get impatient and I lose things. I get anxious and stressed. I get slammed in the media for the profession I love. I have years of experience but I learn something new every.single.day.
So, why do I do it, year after year?
For the smile from the shy girl that arrives every day and comes to tell me a story about her night. For the hug from the boy who got assigned the animal he wanted for his research report. For the knowing look across the hallway with a teacher who feels the same way I do and can communicate it to me with a look. For the handmade card carefully drawn by a student. For the many Almond Joy candy bars I received when the students found out that it's my favorite. For the laughs when I mess up and show them it's ok to laugh at yourself. For the students I had last year who stop by for a hug. For the bouquets of dandelions. For the little faces that peek in the windows at recess and wave. For the genuine clapping from the students when I read them a picture book. For the admiration in their eyes when I show them the cursive letter "z". For the tears I can wipe away. For the aches I can lessen. For the fears I can stop. For the times I see a student help another student and be a friend. For the joy on their faces when I give them an extra recess. For the "AHA" moment from the student that finally gets division. For the twenty hands that go up whenever I say, "Can I get someone to help me with ______?" For the pushing back they give me when I push them to do their best. For the hours and hours and days and days that I get to spend with each and every one of them.
I do it because I couldn't do anything else. I am a teacher.