Over the past couple days, I’ve had a few teachers tell me they are thinking about leaving the profession. Some of them referenced this NPR article talking about a potential forthcoming teacher shortage. Others of them told me of their own students who were considering teaching until they looked at x or until they considered y. That led to the teacher realizing that maybe he didn’t have a good answer for this student. And I was reminded of the numerous articles I’ve read over the past few years written by teachers advising the youth of the United States to not go into teaching.
On one hand, I’m worried that these forecasts are true. I need colleagues. I can’t run a school by myself.
On the other hand, I’ve discovered over the past few years how effective positivity can be. In the face of overwhelming negativity, a solid dose of positive spirit and confidence can change everything. One need look no further than the Nerdy Book Club to see what this looks like.
So I’ve been thinking: why do I do this? I make okay pay. Perhaps not compared to some other professions, but I’m also not starving (though I do know some teachers who are on state and federal aid). But that’s definitely not why I work. I could find another job with far less stress with comparable pay. So why do I do it?
It’s not hard to find that reason. I blog about it regularly. I do it for the students. I do it for the unique relationship I have with publishers and authors. I do it because I’ve become a morning person, so if I’m going to be up at 5, it might as well be to go to work. I do it because every day is different, even when it’s using the same lesson plan. I do it because I can’t imagine doing anything else and experiencing as much joy as I do with this job. I do it for the students.
I do it for the students.
Teachers out there: why do you teach? What keeps you going when negativity swirls around?