18 September 2008 10:29 AM

The Most Important Profession Continued...

by Dr. Rick

Here are some other reasons to be a teacher.

  1. Affect society. Be a part of the change that must happen in education. Take control by lifting the level of conversation and action about children, teaching, and learning. Demand high quality. Fight for higher teacher salaries, higher standards to join and remain in the profession, intolerance for mediocrity, and perhaps most important, alternative certification routes.
  2. Affect children. Influence the future by sharing your passion for learning and your conviction that lifelong learning is as necessary for life as lifelong healthy habits. Common sense and research tell us that student achievement is directly tied to high quality instruction. Be that special teacher.
  3. Do something worthwhile with your life. The teaching profession has been affected by the proliferation of other careers that appeal to young high achievers.  Not all of those careers, though, turn out to be as fulfilling as teaching. Young, bright, energized teachers fighting for the resuscitation of their profession while motivating children to learn are just what the country needs.
  4. Enjoy time away from the classroom. Where else can you spend your summers refreshing your mind and spirit (you’ll need it) by indulging your interests and hobbies, going to graduate school, spending time with your family?
  5. Enjoy job security. Face it, we’ll always need competent, caring, inspiring teachers who are constantly looking for ways to improve their teaching and the lives of the students they serve. Make yourself marketable by specializing in areas that are in sore need: modern languages, special education, mathematics, sciences, and technology, among others.

Does all this sound too “noble?" Maybe. I wish I could live up to my own high language here, but what I lack in nobility I make up for in perseverance. After forty years, I’m still at it, still motivated by the same beliefs that brought me to teaching in the first place, despite the warnings and protests of friends and family who are now in their third and fourth careers and still looking for the “right one.” I speak to college students, future teachers, and new teachers frequently. How I wish there were far more of them. Still, would I recommend teaching to everyone? No. Only the best and the bravest.




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