I was interviewed recently by some students about why I went into teaching years ago. While I love to share this story, the more important part of the interview was why teachers choose to do what they do. Here is what I said:
We teach and educate because we were given this gift. Regardless of your beliefs, teaching is a gift (just like music or athletics or preaching or great minds). Spend some time in a classroom and see if you possess the gift. I believe educators are blessed with a heart of compassion for others and special giving hands to share it.
We teach because children need someone who listens and loves. When a child quietly whispers, “I need to tell you something,” in that moment we become listeners, counselors, parents, pastors, or any other profession required of us. This trusting child knows we will love no matter what they share.
We teach because we genuinely desire to make a difference in lives, one person at a time. This is part of “the gift” since it comes from deep within our souls. While I didn’t mention this to these students, educators as a group are naturally willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and (in some cases) their lives to save their students with great courage, honor, and dignity. We are faithful servants in our work.
Given a choice of any other work, I would not hesitate in choosing to be the guardian, the caregiver, and the advocate for learners…the educator. I flipped the question to them, “Given a choice, what would you be?” One student summed it up this way, “Geez…and I just thought teachers taught, Mrs. Van!” 🙂