There are many reasons why people become teachers. For some it is the desire to “make a difference” in the world. For others the motivation is a care and concern for young people. And for yet others, it is the importance of their subjects, and the concern that knowledge of it endures. We can add to this a small minority that didn’t know what else to do with their degree. [As an aside, I remember overhearing a conversation between two final year university students on their futures. One of them said he would do teacher training, “while he worked out what he really wanted to do.”]
Why stay a teacher? Now here is a more interesting concept. Some – but not all – of the world changers become disillusioned and leave. Some “kid’s are our futures” types, equally withdraw after seeing the realities of the classroom. And “preservation of knowledge” advocates become frustrated when their beloved topics fall on disinterested ears. But the majority persevere. Why, because they come to embrace all of the above, and become educators.
Our little victories drive us onwards. That moment when little Johnny “gets it.” The realization that these young people are indeed people, and they are developing into wonderful human beings.
I have been an educator for nearly three decades. I may have started out as a “my subject matters” type, but I have grown! I really care about the students I teach. I feel for their hurts, and I really find joy in their triumphs. I see them as full individuals, not just as recipients of my subject. As a case in point, I love watching the programme on the last day of the year, when those about to leave us make their speeches, share their recollections, and share their talents in music or drama. I can look then, and take pride that I in some small part helped shape these awesome people.
That is why I teach. I may not have changed the world, but I have touched the lives that have touched mine.