Find the Reason You Became a TeacherI am working on a team this summer where we are tasked with planning the training for the entire school year. During our sessions, we have had discussions about new initiatives. One of our primary concerns is how to get those who are resistant to new concepts to reconsider their thinking. To foster this, we have developed ideas to assist in this transition with the hope that they will buy into the new initiatives and address them with as much enthusiasm as we do. Basically, it comes down to remembering why you became a teacher and learning to fall in love with your job again.
As I have been reading, Whole Brain Teaching for the Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle, I made a connection between the perceived challenges we, as a professional development team, were facing and his sentiment in chapter 3 of this book. According to Biffle, there seven ways teachers can avoid exacerbating challenging student behaviors:
- control your temper
- confront challenging students when they don't have an audience
- be organized
- fall in love with your profession
- work hard at teaching, when you are not in class
- understand that your students are not your clones
- grow or die
I remember the moment I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. I was sixteen and helping my sister, a first grader, do her homework. She was having such a hard time with her reading and I recall how frustrated she was. It reminded me of when I was her age and hated school. Reading was so hard for me too. I just didn't get it. Sitting there with my sweet little sister on the cold basement floor, I assured her that everything would be fine and that I was there to help her. As I slowly guided her through the words in her sentences, breaking them down, so she could sound them out, something inside of me changed. I had discovered a new driving force and I knew, in that moment, that I wanted to be a teacher. At the young age of sixteen, I had a deep desire to instill a LOVE of reading in children.
Over the past twenty years, I have developed that passion. I have spent my career growing and learning. Chris Biffle was right when he said, "Grow or die." Research and best practices are always changing and our students are constantly morphing. If we don't choose to change and grow with them, we become stagnant. Fearing that this would make me ineffective, I never stop learning. So, on those days that I want to close the door and never look back, I have to remind myself of why I am a teacher. It helps renew my spirit and enables me to go in everyday with an spring in my step and a sparkle in my eye.
What was your driving force to become a teacher? What is your story?