Monday, February 11, 2008
i love people.
last week i was assigned to be a mentor for a student teacher from a local college and one of the very first questions she asked me was, "why do you love teaching?" actually, the very first question was, "DO YOU like teaching?"
frankly, i wasn't sure how to answer.
i mean, my gut answer, the immediate reply that came to mind, and also the truest, which i gave to her, was, "i LOVE teaching!"
but what did that MEAN? why? WHY do i love teaching?
to be clear, i DO love teaching. i just never really delineated the reasons (for myself or for others) with any real precision . . .
the rumor is that anyone who teaches does so because they can't do anything else with their life or simply wants a flexible schedule. well, where i am concerned, allow me to dispel both of those suppositions. perhaps they are true of some teachers, just not THIS one.
for the record, mama didn't raise no fool. i graduated from ucla with a BA in english literature. i had a 3.867 GPA in the major and would have had latin honors (summa cum laude), except that, due to some bureaucratic ineptitude on ucla's part, my application was rejected.
what is more, anyone who actually believes that teachers work a 40 hour week for 9 months and that's it is the real fool. i easily put in something closer to 70 hours or more every week and teach summer school. this is in addition to graduate education classes and certification . . .
as i think about it, i teach for many, many, many reasons. too numerous to name them all, but there are some worth mentioning/explaining:
i love learning.
i think that part of the reason i teach is that i have so much that i want to share . . . the reality is, though, that i learn more, i am sure, from my kids, than they learn from me. word.
my students never cease to amaze me with how much they already know. they are wondrous, those gangly, awkward teenagers.
i love reading.
it's true. i'm a self-professed book whore. what better profession for me than one in which i GET PAID to read? woo hoo! fact is, i should probably pay them!
let's not get carried away . . .
where was i? oh, yes, reading. i love it. i always have. this is, maybe, something innate, though it's more likely that it was cultivated in me by my wonderful mother, who may have lacked money for nice clothes or a proper car, but never for books. we were poor, to be sure, growing up, but no one would have ever guessed it from looking at our library.
i love writing.
omg, is there anything better? and not that i'm deluded or anything . . . i know i'm not a good writer, not by any stretch of the imagination, but i love it anyway. it's the whole creative process that turns me on. i have a portfolio (i use the term loosely) of poetry and other writings, as well as art . . .
(it's dawning on me that i talk about reading and writing in somewhat sexual terms . . . hmmm. remind me to discuss that later in it's own little post.)
i have "peter pan syndrome". if you can't tell that i'm just a giant kid, then you can't read very well and should probably . . . actually, definitely . . . have your eyes checked.
hurry. go now!
i don't take anything too seriously. least of all me.
and yeah, ok, fine, the schedule IS nice.
but the bottom line? people. i love people.
i am a people person. this is a career that affords me the privilege . . . the honor . . . of being a part of so many people's lives. wow. what a tremendous gift and responsibiity. i am both humbled and awed by the trust that parents put in their children's teachers, in me . . .
i love that i get to work with these remarkable creatures, human beings . . . and that sometimes i get to help, get to show them something new, get to learn something for the first time WITH them, get to listen, get to inspire, get to laugh, get to discuss, get to cry, get to create, get to challenge . . .
there are days, i won't lie, that i think i don't get paid enough, that i get upset that others don't value the work that i and others like me do . . . but they are few and far between . . . easily swept away by a kid who, as he runs out of my class, says, "that story was cool, ms. b. i learned a lot about . . ."
people. yeah. i love them.