- Posted September 12, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Teachers: Why do you teach?
Let's Be Honest...The Pay Isn't that Great
I teach for the challenge. As an educator who has worked with students in distressed areas my entire career, I love showing my students what they are capable of. Heck, I love showing their parents and administration the same thing. Failing students are my favorites because they require innovation. As an English teacher, I have to get creative when introducing students to the "classics" and getting them to buy in. I may have mixed more contemporary novels like "Tyrell" with Hamlet to get students to understand better. I am rewarded each time they emerge from their self imposed teenaged funk to react with outrage to a text that some might think they would have never read. I teach for those moments.
I teach because I realize that some kids are just one inspired conversation away from greatness. I might be that conversation. I push my students to do their best daily in my classroom because that is what I do. I get to work at 7:30 and I don't leave until 5pm on a regular basis. There are no bonuses for doing my job well here. I do it because I love it. We discuss everything in my classroom from students personal issues to world events and how those things connect to our essays. I teach because on some days...I like to be an armchair psychologist. I don't have all of the answers but I do have my own life experiences and sometimes sharing those not only lets my students know I am real, it gives them hope.
I teach because I am an optimist. I have to believe that things will get better for my students and myself. We all tend to be from the same neighborhood and the same circumstances. My life is a testament to the power of positive thinking and taking advantage of opportunity when it knocks. I teach my students to recognize that sound and not give up when they miss it. I encourage them to keep going. That is all I have learned to do. I am the oldest of four daughters born to a single mother. One of my sisters is dead. The other a single mother, and my youngest sister is in college to be an accountant. I keep pushing for them, and for my mother. I see myself in my students and I realize that if I can keep motiviating them then my inner fire will never die. I teach because I have to.
I believe that knowledge is power and I am tired of seeing my students powerless. I am tired of seeing them locked out as far as real participation in society goes. So I educate them. I teach them the essay basics they need to know and then we tackle to critical thinking and contemporary issues they should know as well. My classroom is busy. Can you tell? My students and I are a community. We are all on the same boat and we are trying to reach a better future for ourselves. I am an adjunct professor at my school. That means I teach my heart out for no benefits and no guarantee of a job the following semester. My students and I are not that different. They are in my classroom because they have realized by this point that they have missed out on the learning experiences others received. They want to make up for lost time and secure their futures. I am in my classroom teaching them for the same reason. I want to secure my future. I want to ensure that the future policymakers, business owners, and teachers of my children are educated and involved. As much as I can I want to ensure that my students don't have to worry about feeling left out of the educational loop again. That is why I teach. I do it to help my students and if I were being really honest I would admit that I am doing it to save myself.