Monday, May 9, 2011

Teaching is my Dream Job

     Teaching always was, and still is, my dream job, but not for the reasons you may think.  Rarely do I get home before 5.  Some days I go from one meeting to another to my night job and see my family for a few minutes in the car on my way.  My summers are full of presentations and workshops and research and reading about teaching and planning new lessons and learning new technology.  The joy of my time off is having the time to become better for my students.  I do have a steady paycheck, but it isn't enough to support my family, so I work two other jobs, as well.  I could make enough money doing one job, but I can't give up my teaching.  It is my passion and my joy.
     Teaching is my dream job because I  make a difference every day and they make a difference in my life every day.  There is nothing like hearing that the boy you didn't know, the one who acted out in the assembly and called you a "bitch" was mad at the world and planned to kill himself when he got home.  You were the first person he told because you cared enough to ask why he was mad.  He was admitted to the hospital and I never saw him again, but he changed my life
     There is nothing like seeing a teenage boy crying because he misses his mom.  She is in prison for trying to kill him, but he loves her and misses her terribly.  He wrote a poem for her for Mother's Day.  He can't read it to her until she chooses him over the cocaine, but he wanted to share it with us because we would understand.    
    Or the girl whose mother chose her abusive white supremist boyfriend over her, even though he is in prison for murder. You will never know heartbreak until you have to tell those trusting eyes that you are not allowed to adopt her, but you would be proud to call her your daughter.
     After teaching a presentation, a woman came up and asked me if I remembered her.  She was in my class ten years ago.  She is almost done with her teaching degree because of me.  I wish I could say it was one of those earth-shattering moments instead of a throw-away question to kill the last few minutes of class when I asked her, "Where do you want to go to college?"  No one had ever asked her that before and she began to think maybe she could go to college.  Even our throw-away comments are taken and absorbed by the students no one can reach.  The ones who look like they could care less what you have to say.  They are the ones who listen the best.  Secretly hoping you will be the one to find the real person behind the facade they have mastered.
     I see kids who have given up on life - 2 suicides are too many in 20 years.  I have lost 5 students in all.  An average of one hearbreak every four years.  I have seen kids go through the worst things we have to offer them.  I have seen things through their eyes that even the strongest of us would not survive.  
    These are my students - the lost, the lonely, the fringes of society, the unwanted, the abused, the neglected, the hopeless, the fragile.  I love every single one of them.  I have never met a student that I didn't reach.  It wasn't easy, but I never wrote them off.  That is why I teach.  This is my dream job.  My students deserve nothing less.

1 comment:

  1. Your post hits the nail on the head of why I want to teach. My husband thinks I'm nuts for wanting to take a huge pay cut to follow my heart (which pulls me strongly and tells me there are lives to be changed because of my future teaching career). Thank you for being an inspiration!