Saturday, April 13, 2013

And This is Why You SHOULD Be a Teacher... (Part I: The Soap Box)

(Let me take a moment to apologize to my Mamaw, my mother, Uncle Rob, and any one else who may be offended by my colorful language in this post. Please forgive me and maybe turn on the censor in your brain that changes bad words into totally ridiculous words. What the smurf...)

Lately I've read  so many blog posts and articles written by frustrated, heartbroken, or plain-old pissed off (or maybe all three!) teachers encouraging young people to never go into education ever ever ever! Quite frankly, they have some pretty good reasons behind their plea.

But... that's not what I'm all about. At all.

I would by telling a lie if I said that I've never felt like I made the wrong choice about my career, or that I've never considered a career-change in the last few years, or that my job is never frustrating, heart-breaking, or angry-making! There have been times over the past few years that I've wondered what in the hell smurf am I doing here? Usually this happens when I'm up to my eyeballs in research papers, or I'm staring at my paycheck, or I'm fending off angry emails, or I'm trying desperately to help my English 10 kids get ready for the ECA and they are searching for trucks on Craigslist.

But... let me tell you something. When I was in my senior year at college, we had a guest speaker from the state teachers' association come in to talk about educational law. While that was interesting and helpful and pretty smurfin' terrifying! she also imparted some wisdom that I would like to share with you.

She said that the year you don't want to go out and buy a new outfit for the first day of school is the year you need to change careers.

That has really stuck with me, but I think it's more than just buying an outfit. It's the spark, the reason that you go into education in the first place. When the spark is gone, you shouldn't teach anymore.

A handful of teachers go into the field without the spark. They don't have a true desire to be in the classroom... they either don't know what else to do, or they like having "summers off" (HA!), or something. It seems like they don't last long. Some teachers go in with the spark, but it is quickly extinguished. It wasn't the spark of their life, their real source of passion... it was just a spark. For some teachers, the spark lasts a while, but then it ignites other passions, like administration, or counseling, or teaching college, or a whole other career entirely. And there are a few who have the spark forever.

Honestly, I don't know yet if I have the lifelong spark. But I do know that this is what I'm meant to do with my life right now, and I want to defend it.

It used to be that teachers had to defend their profession from others who weren't in the field. Honestly, who can truly understand what it's like to be a teacher until they are one? But nowadays we are being attacked by our own kind! While I understand that our value as educators is often undermined by the powers that be, I can't help but wonder why we are trying to extinguish the spark. Is that at all fair? Is it right for us to say, "Well, yes, I had the spark, and I lost it... it was taken from me... so that means you shouldn't have it either"? I think that's smurfshit (erm... nvm), quite honestly. Every other person in every other field is allowed to test the waters, to figure out if this is what they want to do. Why are we discouraging young people who may very well have that lifelong spark, who can make a difference? I agree that education in the U.S. needs serious reform, but I'm not here to talk about that. I'm writing this because we aren't helping anything by discouraging people from being teachers. We are only making matters worse.

For once, I want to see legitimate lists of reasons you should be a teacher, and not some of the smurfing awful ones I've seen online that say stuff like "You get summers off and you get paid for them!" and "You will only have to work from 8:00 to 3:00 five days a week." That's more smurfshit, right there. That being said, I'm hosting my first Linky Party!

If you're a blogger, I'd love it if you would join the party! Share with everyone what your personal top ten reasons are for teaching, whatever your grade level, subject matter, etc. may be! Let's share a little inspiration!

Want to share, but you aren't a blogger? Email your Top 10 for Teaching and your list may be featured on Eat.Write.Teach. Email your lists to:

To get this party started, I've written a separate post with my Top 10 for Teaching, which can be found here.

Happy Teaching! I can't wait to see read what you all have to say!