My name is Raymond Franz.. I have been a teacher for twelve years. I can honestly say they have been the best years of my life outside of having a family of my own. Students are like family to me. I believe every student deserves to be respected as an individual. What prompted me to become a teacher was the desire to motivate students to want to learn. I wanted to give back the passion for learning I gained from my teachers. My teachers gave me the overwhelming desire to want to help people as well as be successful in my own right. My teachers brought out my talents. They also helped me shape who I was as an individual. My teachers helped me realize what being a part of something was really about. When I decided to become a teacher I had realized working with young people and guiding them towards a path where they could reach their goals was an overwhelming feeling. It's amazing to hear from former students who have graduated from high school and now college and witness their success first hand. I live in the relatively small community of Palm Springs, CA. I have been extremely fortunate to teach in the same school district I attended while I was in school. When I began teaching the policies of No Child Left Behind and standardized testing had just begun to be implemented in California. It was difficult at first to avoid the trappings of becoming a "standardized teacher" and teaching to the test. I came into the profession with a simple goal. I wanted students who came from all backgrounds to realize their potential. I wanted any student who entered my classroom to leave it with the knowledge they could do anything. I wanted to instill this belief in students because that's what was instilled in me. The early years were difficult because of the regulations under No Child Left Behind. I understood what it meant to teach with heart and passion.The notion of teaching to a standardized test didn't appeal to me because it did not seem morally right. It wasn't easy, but eventually I was able to blend my passions and convictions into meaningful lessons. My lessons covered content as well as standards. I was and am a Language Arts teacher for 6th grade. I am also very fortunate to teach a drama class and run our school's dram club. I remember my 6th grade teacher. His name was Robert Prutsman and he had a profound affect on my life. He instilled in me the love of reading and writing. He also passed on his love for the theater and drama. I would be remiss in not mentioning his name. I didn't come from wealth. My father worked as a gardener and never completed high school. He had to drop out in ninth grade because his father died and he had to work to help support his brothers and sisters. He along with my mother had given me the drive to be successful at whatever I put my mind to. Mr. Prutsman helped me channel this drive. It was not only this drive but the motivation of someother really extraordinary teachers who passed on their passion for teaching to me. My parents and my teachers grew up in a time when the teaching profession garnered a measure of respect. I respected them immensely. Together both taught me life lessons regarding the importance of helping others. Motivating people to acheive greater than what they think they can acheive is something I wish everyone could experience. Seeing learning take place and watching students grasp concepts is something I admired in my teachers. The teachers I was blessed to have made me feel important as an individual. They made me want to learn. I feel in love with that feeling and wanted to honor them by giving back. Teaching felt right. I didn't even know what the starting pay for a teacher was when I began my degree program and frankly I didn't care. I was never in teaching for the money. I wanted to do it because it felt right. Along with this story I would like to honor my teachers with a big heartfelt thank you. They deserve it. I teach because my family and my teachers helped me understand hat it means to inspire people. Teaching someone a skill, or giving people the tools neccessary to acquire a skill is a phenomenal feeling. I do not think you can measure a teacher's success through test scores. I think you can measure a teacher's success by the number of students who have gone out and realized their potential. I teach because I want to honor my teachers with the gifts they gave me. I want to honor them by passing on those same gifts to my students.
What do you think of this story?
Select one of the options below. Your feedback will help tell CNN producers what to do with this iReport. If you'd like, you can explain your choice in the comments below.
Be and editor! Choose an option below: