A sage teacher was asked the very simple question of why they chose teaching as their career. There were no rigid guidelines on what format the response should take. The teacher was only asked to complete the following statement in 350 words or so. The statement was 'I teach...'
1. Not because the close study of Steinbeck and Hemingway has been wiped from most every English curriculum and replaced with day after day of test prep and assessment score analysis.
2. Not because of the threat of losing pay as a result of poor student performance which is obviously all the educator’s fault and has nothing to do with parent involvement or societal changes.
3. Not because many teachers are socially inept creatures that could not function in professional environments where they are evaluated continuously.
4. Not because the real expectations of classroom teaching is not covered in any college class.
5. Not because teacher salaries are borderline pathetic considering the amount of work that they actually do.
6. Not because pats on the back and “good jobs” are reserved for the “in” crowd.
7. Not because coming to work an hour early means nothing and staying until agreed time means everything.
8. Not because a small fortune is paid to the union just in case one is ever falsely accused and in need an attorney.
9. Not because twenty-year-old vehicles can be reliable if treated with extreme tenderness and care.
10. Not because of the “us versus them” atmosphere created by technology integration.
11. Not because multiple Master’s degrees means anything at all.
12. Not because the bickering between unions and school systems might earn teachers what they already should have been getting in the first place.
13. Not because talent is kept in check by those fearful of learning something new.
14. Not because volunteering to work with students all summer means nothing to anyone at all.
15. Not because computer labs are to be used all day including planning and lunch.
16. Not because being honorable means that anyone will ever believe what you say.
17. Not because grading papers and eating a dollar frozen meal equals lunch.
18. Not because teaching is a way to get rich quick.
19. Not because of the promise that comes with taking college courses till the end of time.
20. Not because Professional Development sessions are just enriched classroom lesson plans that make everyone feel like they are a child.
21. Not because perfection is a fallacy, though 10 percent of the worst teachers think they are perfect.
22. Not because teaching is one of the most selfless, honorable professions.
23. But because one day, in fact, it may have already happened, I am going to say the right thing to the right child at the right time, and he or she will remember what was said, and thank me in memory as they institute peace for the entire world. That very simple thought gets me out of bed and into my classroom eager to teach every day.