So I had to deal with a few situations last week that truly made me appreciate being an educator, and that made me feel honored to have the opportunity to interact with young people each and every day. Most of the issues revolved around students who had made bad decisions, or who had made a big enough mistake that it warranted a hard conversation. Anyway, reflecting back on these interactions, I found that they were easily the best part of my week, as they reminded me why I love education so much…being with kids!
Having the opportunity to speak to students who have made bad decisions and mistakes is one of the best parts of the job in my opinion, because it’s then that you can really teach, and mentor, and get kids to become better versions of themselves. The mistakes that kids make are where the beauty of adolescence lies, and to have the opportunity to help guide a child through their formative years, which is at times hard for every child, is a true gift that educators have been given. That said, it is remarkable to me that with every conversation that I have with a student around making better choices, I am reminded so much about life and what education is all about, which is that the most precious and most teachable moments often happen outside of the academic classroom.
Teaching kids to be better human beings, and to learn from their mistakes, so that they can become better each and every day is the good stuff, and if we approach these opportunities with the right mindset and attitude then we can change and truly impact a young person’s life in immeasurable ways…and we get to learn about ourselves in the process. It’s easy to quickly go straight to the discipline approach, or to frame the conversation around consequences, but then we miss out on what’s really important, which is the learning. I always walk away from one of these conversations changed for the better, and with a deeper appreciation of the student who is with me at the time. Kids make mistakes, we all do, but it’s how we approach the outcome that makes all the difference. No other profession has the opportunity that we have, and it’s beautiful. How fortunate are we to be doing what we’re doing? How fortunate are we to be spending our days with kids? We get to be mentors and role models and we get to learn from the best teachers on the planet…our students.
It all reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Glennice L. Harmon, which brings to life the reason why we all do what we do…we get to spend our days with young people, and like she says, where could you find more splendid company? Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other.
They Ask me why I Teach – Glennice L. Harmon
They ask me why I teach
And I reply, “Where could I find more splendid company?”
There sits a statesman,
Strong, unbiased, wise,
Another later Webster
And there a doctor
Whose quick, steady hand
Can mend a bone or stem the lifeblood’s flow.
A builder sits beside him —
Upward rise the arches of that church he builds wherein
That minister will speak the word of God,
And lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ.
And all about
A lesser gathering
Of farmers, merchants, teachers,
Who work and vote and build
And plan and pray into a great tomorrow.
And, I say,
“I may not see the church,
Or hear the word,
Or eat the food their hands will grow.
And yet — I may.
And later I may say,
“I knew the lad, and he was strong,
Or weak, or kind, or proud
Or bold or gay.
I knew him once,
But then he was a boy.
They ask my why I teach and I reply,
“Where could I find more splendid company?”
Quote of the Week…
Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops – Henry Brooks Adams
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2 thoughts on “They Ask Me Why I Teach”
I totally agree with you that conversing with students that make bad decisions is one of the best parts of our profession. I enjoyed this article very much and can relate in so many ways after my fruitful years as an educator. You may remember that we met briefly before the end of the 2016 school year – Paola introduced us.
Thanks for sharing Glennice L. Harmon’s poem. Loved it!