I follow a number of educational blogs (ok, all are educational blogs), one of which is written by Matt Renwich. His blog, “Reading By Example” is one that I look forward to because much of what he talks about just makes sense. I enjoy that, and share his insights into literacy and education with those in my own school.
Anyway, his most recent post, “Why I Do What I Do“, struck me because how often do we reflect on why we do what we do? Sure, we are teachers, we love kids, blah blah blah. As I say to my students, that’s a great start, now tell me the why of your writing (oh I just feel the frustration).
So why do I do what I do? Well, I could say I’ve gained inspiration from my father and aunt, both retired teachers and the work they did, the lives they touched. I was at a farm sale with my father and my youngest daughter when a man comes up and says, “Hi, Mr. Johnston”, then gives my father a hug! My daughter looks up at me with wide eyes, “who is that???” I had to explain that Mr. Johnston is also my father, who taught for 30+ years, so a lot of people know him! I could say I do it because I love learning. I’m currently in the middle of getting a reading endorsement because I’ve found that while it would be good to market myself with, I enjoy teaching literacy, and need to be a better teacher of it!
Honestly, I do this because I believe that I can make a difference in lives. I’m not the smartest person in the world, nor am I well spoken. I stumble, a lot, and room is a disaster. But I create relationships, I create bonds with students so that when it does get hard, we can work together without their being a rift between us. I allow students a voice in my classroom because I know with that feeling of empowerment comes that drive to do better, to want more. I give my students respect, show them that I care so when we hit walls, we can hit them softly, with as little damage as possible.
Why do I do what I do? I do this because my students need me to make an impact right now, right here in their lives. By the time they are seniors, my classroom is a tiny brief memory among a sea of emotions and experiences, but for the briefest of moments, I pushed them to do better then they thought they could, and that makes all the difference to me.
I do this because I love what I do. It’s hard, stressful, and agonizing work, but I cannot imagine doing anything else.
For you who blog, my challenge to you: Answer that question – why do I do what I do – and tweet it out to us! The world wants to hear your genius! 🙂