Regular readers of this blog might get the impression that we’re a bunch of unhappy teachers. After all, much of what we write about deals with our concerns for the teaching professional and our complaints about some of the policies that shape the world in which we work. And it’s true! We do have concerns and we do have complaints. However, I think I speak for the whole writing team when I say that despite my concerns and complaints, I overwhelmingly love this job!
I love the people I work with. I’m not talking about the other teachers, although they’re great people; I’m talking about the kids with whom I spend most of my time. Fourth graders have such an infectious sense of joy and innocence that for seven hours every weekday you would never know that there were any problems in West Africa, Eastern Europe or North St. Louis. Fourth graders are open and honest; they laugh when they’re happy, cry when they’re hurt and skip when they’re supposed to walk. I wish we could all be like fourth graders, but we can’t, so I’ll take the next best thing.
I love the fact that society trusts me to do something so important. There are 27 families that send their kids to my classroom every day, confident that I’ll consistently keep them safe and get them ready for a successful future. Thirty years ago, when I was first starting, that overwhelming responsibility kept me up at night. Now it just keeps me busy during the day. Really busy. I get up every morning, eager to get to work and come home every night exhausted but happy with what I’ve done.
I love the extra stuff. Starting about fifteen years ago, I realized that there were opportunities for teachers to extend their skills and knowledge beyond the classroom. So I began doing extra stuff. The hardest part – for me, anyway – was letting go of my classroom every once in a while. But I finally realized that with clear lesson plans in the hands of a decent substitute, things will be just fine without me. And any problems that occur are more than offset by insuring that teachers have a voice in the profession. Extra stuff can be fun. Although I’ve never done anything outside the classroom that was as fun or as important as teaching, I’ve met some wonderful people and traveled all over the country working on interesting and important projects.
So don’t get the wrong idea from our blog. Yes, we have concerns and yes, we’ll have complaints. But we still love what we do.