- Posted September 10, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Teachers: Why do you teach?
I am a world languages teacher. I teach in Denver, CO. I have been sworn at by students, I have had students make me cry, I have seen students "get it" and I have had students thank me for not giving up on them. Why do I teach?
I teach because I love to instill the excitement I have for a language into my students. I teach because I want to make a difference on our society. I want to leave a good footprint when I'm gone. I teach because some students don't have anyone who cares about them or their education. I teach so I can be the adult in a student's life who does care, who watches them play football, who hears them sing at a concert, who sees their artwork in the art gallery, who gives them a high five when they get an A. I teach so I can help students learn more than just a language, but about life.
I am a young teacher. This is only my third year of teaching, and I'm still trying to decide if this is what I want to do. I know I enjoy it, I know I feel like I've done something good when I do it, but I also know that I am not a volunteer. I am a well-educated, intelligent human being who needs to pay rent, buy groceries, and pay off student loans. I have a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies and a MA in secondary education. The reason why I wonder if this is the career choice for me is because it's probably one of the most difficult careers anyone can go into.
My annual salary is not nearly enough to pay off the education that I recieved to become a teacher. I work 40 hours a week. At school. I work another 20 at home. If I only worked 40 hours a week, there would be no tutoring, no graded tests, papers, quizzes, projects, no clubs, no sports. So, I work 60 hours a week so my students can get my very best and so that they can get the education they deserve. That averages out to about 13-18 dollars an hour depending on how much work I decide to do over the summer. Yes, I work over the summer. That's more than some babysitters get paid.
During those 60 hours, I plan lessons that correlate with state and national standards curriculum, as well a district curriculum, I gather materials to deliver those throughly planned lessons in the best way to my students (sometimes spending my own money on those materials,) I grade homework, quizzes, tests, and projects and get them back to my students quickly so they can have immediate feedback, I attend meetings about school rules and policies, I attend meetings to talk about certain students' Individualized learning plans so they can be delivered an education that is tailored to their specific needs, I attend parent meetings about good and/or bad student behavior, I call parents for the same reasons, I help students who are struggling with before/after school tutoring, I attend football games, concerts, and/or art shows so my students can see my commitment to them and their education. But, remember that for approximately 6.5 hours of my workday, I am actively teaching and managing my classes. 6.5 hours of my day is spent directly with my students.
And during all this, I have to endure society saying that teachers are incompetent, teachers don't care, teachers don't really do any work. I want to assure you, society, that teachers are very much competent (most hold masters degress if not PhD's,) the majority of teachers do care or else we wouldn't endure our low salary, and by all means do teachers work. Please, if you think you can do a better job then do it. Go to school. Become a teacher. Make a difference.