Not everybody is cut out to be a teacher.
If you think being an educator is what you are destined to become but the only reason you can give yourself as to why you want to pursue this career path is because teachers get summers off…then you better hold your horses. If you are contemplating entering the education field, and you want to know the real reason we do what we do, then I invite you to look over this list of 13 reasons why we teach.
1) We Have A Heart For Others
Let’s be brutally honest. IF you’re not a people person, especially as that relates to kids under the age of 19, then teaching probably isn’t for you. Might I suggest a job in politics? Politicians are typically close minded and don’t relate well to others…so politics might be the way to go for you. BUT…if you love kids, and you want to see them become all they can become…teaching is the job for you.
2) We Love Collaboration
Interpersonal skills are life skills that every productive person on Earth should have. But, the reality is, not everyone works well with others. IF you have a problem with someone objecting to your ideas, and you refuse to help out you fellow co-workers, then teaching probably isn’t your bag. BUT, if you like working in a team to meet goals that will benefit the future of mankind, then you really should try teaching. Together, teachers have the power to illuminate the future. Likewise, working collaboratively with students enriches learning and teaches students how to work well with others.
3) We Understand That Everyone Is Different, & Those Differences Make Us Uniquely AWESOME
We’re all different. IF you chose to see these differences as “faults” then you’ve totally missed the meaning of being human. You’ll never see the full potential of someone because you are a bit short-sighted. BUT, if you praise the differences of others and understand that a child/young adult’s individuality is one of their greatest super powers, then you have the potential to be a rock star educator.
4) We Know That Failure Leads To Success
Failure is a part of the everyday life of every living human being on the planet. IF you believe that failure makes you weak and less of person, then there is a good chance you’re single with no hope for finding a spouse. You put too much stock in “right” and “wrong”. We all make mistakes. BUT, if we come to the realization that through reflecting on our failures we can make better informed decisions going forward, then life becomes easier. We can either pivot and change direction completely, or fix what didn’t work and make it better.
5) We Comprehend That Life Isn’t Always Pretty
We all have issues. Sometimes those issues can cause us to act out and be jerks, or withdraw and run from others. IF you are the type of person who only focuses on the “what” instead of the “why”, then you’ve probably alienated you closest friends and relatives. BUT, if you choose to take a deeper look at a person’s life, then you have a rare skill that lends itself well to teaching. There are reasons people do what they do. Poverty, abuse, and neglect can make people act in ways they normally wouldn’t. If we take time to understand the backgrounds of children, then we might see a path to reaching them with life-changing knowledge.
6) We Realize That Respect Is A Two-Way Street
Most people want to be respected, but it is real easy to forget to respect others. IF you are the type of person who always has to demand respect from those around you…there is a really good chance that your selfish desires has made you the butt of office jokes. BUT, if you make it a point to show others respect first and naturally earn the respect of others, you have the potential to not only be a great teacher, but an awesome educational leader. When we earn the respect of our fellow teachers and our students naturally (without demanding it from them), we can rest assured…we’re doing something right.
7) We Can Identify & Encourage Potential
Everyone has hidden potential, but not everyone has tapped into it. IF you are someone who only sees people for what they currently offer, then you probably still think Barney is merely a purple dinosaur and missed the fact that he was offering life-changing lessons to people of all ages (and countless hours of rest for parents of toddlers). BUT, if you have the ability to see the potential in people and then help them reach that potential, then teaching’s your thang!
8) We Believe That Creativity Is A Crucial Life Skill
Creative thinking what built this great nation. The gift of creating something out of nothing is not something we are born with, it is something we cultivate throughout our lives. IF you like the “same old same old” and quit when things get hard, then it’s safe to say the only thing you probably ever created was trouble. BUT, if you have the ability to think outside the box and see beyond the present…and then teach others to do the same…you have what it takes to teach critical thinking skills and creativity. And creativity will carry a child farther in life than any other educational discipline.
9) We Don’t Hold A Grudge
People are human…they have a tendency to be hurtful. Maybe they call you a name. Maybe they embarrass you in front of our peers. Maybe they take credit for your accomplishments. Whatever the case may be, when someone else hurts you, you have two choices…hold a grudge, or forgive them. IF you hold a grudge, then your actions are no better than theirs were. By choosing to hold onto anger and avoiding fixing the issue, you are sentencing whatever relationship you had…to death. BUT, if you have the ability to take the high road and forgive others, then you are guaranteeing that collaboration efforts continue, learning has the chance to take place, and hate and ill will has no power over you. It’s easy for students and even fellow teachers to hurt our feelings. How we proceed after the “offense” will either cement the relationship we have with them or burn a bridge that we worked so hard to build. The ability to forgive is what has the potential to make you a great teacher.
10) We Desire To See Everyone Take Ownership
Excluding others is easy. IF you’re the kind of person who, when you don’t like somebody or have a disagreement, you simply kick people out of your “club”, then there is a good chance you are a lonely, lonely person. You make them outcasts. You turn your back on them. You don’t give them a chance to belong. You’ve basically said, “This person is not worth my time and I’m done with them.” BUT, if you are the type of person who strives to make people feel like they belong and that they have a place to become all they can be, then a teacher you may become.
11) We Have The Ability To Stay Positive
“Negative Nancy” has the power to bring everyone around her down. Negative vibes have the power to destroy courage, confidence, and charisma. Negativity even has the power to harm your health, and the health of those around you. IF finding the negativity in every situation is one of your superpowers, then you probably stopped reading this after I used the word “heart” in the bullet number 1. BUT, if you enjoy building other up and making sure others know they are awesome, then you have the makings of an awesome educator.
12) We Are Always Striving To Learn More
Anyone can learn the bare minimum and “get by”. IF you are satisfied with “getting by” and you have no drive and determination to be better, then there is a good chance you still live with mom and dad and you think the original 90210 is the greatest gift to humanity…ever. BUT, if you understand that continuous improvement is the path to a brighter future for you, your family, and the people you come in contact with daily, then you are definitely teacher material.
13) We Have A Sense Of Humor
Life is hard. It can sometimes find ways to steal your joy. IF you see life as this beast which you must always attack with dread and disdain, and you always take life too serious…then I feel sorry for you. You’ve missed all life has to offer because you are probably overwhelmed with stress. BUT, if you’ve learned to laugh at yourself, and the crazy things life throws your way, then you’ve not only brought a smile to someone else’s face, you’ve added years of life to your lifeline. Someone once said that 99% of what we worry about never comes to fruition…in my experiences that’s true. Life happens. Laugh big and laugh often. Find the humor in all things…the good and the bad. Once you’ve mastered this, then you will have the foundation for a successful teaching career.
Teaching is not easy and it is definitely not a job that everyone should pursue. It takes patience and resolve. Determination and grit. It will rob you of time…and money. But at the end of the day, there is no more rewarding profession than that of teacher.
In Our Classrooms, We Need Less Explaining Why, And More Asking Why!
As a teacher, I all too often find myself “explaining why” to my students when I should be “asking why”. In other words, I explain why something happened in a lesson instead of asking the students why something happened. This was especially the case when I taught Science.
For example, If I were covering a unit that dealt with the food chain, I would explain how the rabbit eats the carrots, the coyote eats the rabbit and the mountain lion eats the coyote. THEN I would turn around and explain why the rabbits, coyotes, and mountain lions would suffer if I destroyed the carrot crops. I totally bypassed a perfect opportunity to have students tap into their knowledge recall and critical thinking skills.
What I should have done was ask, “Why does the mountain lion population suffer if I destroy the carrot crops?”
This allows the students to engage their minds and think about how destroying the carrot crop can negatively impact the mountain lions. Engagement by the student is crucial for knowledge transfer. We need to cultivate critical thinking, encourage recall, and help our students tap into those much needed cognitive skills. This type of teaching/learning process needs to happen in our classrooms during instruction so that students will be able to apply those skills on assessment tests, and more importantly, in their everyday lives.
Students are just like you and I, they want the world to know that they know the answer. If I’m in the car and a song comes on, and one of my daughters asks, “who is singing”, I will rack my brain to answer before my wife because I want them to know that I’m smart.
Heck, If Alex Trebek asks a question on TV and I know the answer, I will blurt it out ASAP…even if nobody is around. And the satisfaction I get when Alex reveals that I was correct is AWESOME! Our students feel the very same way. They want to answer questions, especially if they know the correct answer.
We need to design learning environments that encourage that type of participation. And if we spend too much time explaining instead of asking, that will never happen and we will be short-changing the learning experience of the student.
This process doesn’t happen overnight. We must train our students (and ourselves), but eventually, we can get to the point where we are initiating instructional Q & A that is meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for explaining…but there is a boat load of time that can be used for asking.
If we “explain why” as opposed to “asking why” we are doing the students a disservice. We are not allowing true learning to take place. So the next time you feel the urge to “explain” a concept, reason, or idea…STOP, rephrase your thought…and ask “why.”
As veteran teachers, we need to be there for first year teachers. We have the ability to be their greatest resource…or their greatest stumbling block.
WARNING! Bragging Post! My MS Graphic Design classes are in the middle of an Animation Unit… Paul K.: Alien Attack Krys J.: From The Desk To The Fridge Jerry R.: Doritos Robert R.: Microwave Navie T.: Volleyball Evan G.: The Accidental Goal Ana C.: New Friends