"Why do you do what you do?"
It comes from a wide assortment of people… from parents, to student teachers, and sometimes from students themselves.
When I first became a teacher, it was an easy answer and it came out really quick:
"I love working with kids, and helping them learn something."
Pretty common answer, and if you ask most new teachers… or teachers that are just graduating from college looking for a job… that is what you'll hear most of the time.
But is that the real answer?
Really think about it, though…..
Why do YOU do WHAT you DO?
Ask a semi-veteran teacher (a teacher that has been teaching from 5 to 10 years)… and you might get a slightly different response.
"I do what I do, because… I know that I'm making a difference."
OK, sounds good…seems logical, maybe a better understanding of the profession,
Is THAT the real answer?
Maybe…. but let's dig a little deeper…
Ask a "seasoned" teacher (someone teaching 15+ years) … and you might get a response like this:
"I do what I do, because 'they' tell me what to do. I've done this, and then I've tried that, and then we went back to this, and now we're on to that. So, I just do what we're supposed to do right now, and I'll make it work, because I know it'll probably change in a couple of years anyways. By the way, did I answer your question?"
If that's the case for you… I want to help…. because it's MUCH more than that.
I want to help change the perception about what we're supposed to be doing. This profession is SO rewarding… and can be such a joy to do … each and every day.
Now, what if… you received a message from a former student that sounded something like this:
"Thank you! It does feel like yesterday. I remember your class fondly (my first class in __________ schools - and probably one of your first too?). Thank you for being a welcoming, fun, and engaging teacher!"
This is an actual response from a former student that I had over 17 years ago, that just came to me a few days ago.
SEVENTEEN YEARS! (Wow, now I do feel a little old). I haven't talked with her since she was probably in my classroom, but getting that message prompted me to write about this very important topic…. "Why we do what we do…"
Here's what I think it's all about:
Letting them be who they are.
That's right. Each and every student that comes into my room, I have no idea what they are going to do later on in life, but I sure do know what's going on in their life right now.
I know what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, their likes, their dislikes… and the reason that I take so much time building that classroom atmosphere… is to allow them to become what they are destined to be.
I had no idea that she was going to be working for the NFL.
That's right… the National Football League! A huge corporation that has millions of followers, and a sport that I just so happen to love. Who would have thought?
Looking back when she was in our class, I DID know that she was destined for greatness. She was very well-liked by her peers, she had great communication skills, and at that point in time, I remember thinking… "Hmmm.. I wonder what she's going to do later in life. Whatever it is… she'll succeed."
And guess what… she didn't mention anything about tests, or homework, or any busy work (in her message to me) that easily could be a part of the daily monotony that sometimes takes over our job.
She mentioned how "engaging our class was."
That makes what I do … so worthwhile.
The POWERFUL Program.
Providing Opportunities With Economic Results For Underage Learners.
It wasn't called that way back then, and I know that I probably could have taught her more about compounded interest, and saving, and giving… that I do for my students right now, but the point is:
Our product is PEOPLE … and the relationships that they form, and the jobs that they get, and the money that they earn, and what they give back. Not just for someone who works at a major company, but for EVERYONE that goes through my class.
THAT… is why I do what I do.
And if that's what you want to do, too… there's more coming … very, very soon…
It's pretty "powerful" stuff...