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A Peek into the Souls of 5 Teachers

May 5, 2016

When it comes to teachers, it's hard not to be inspired.

Perhaps the only thing more uplifting than the stories of lives changed by outstanding teachers is hearing teachers themselves talk about why they do what they do.

Ask a teacher why they teach, what motivates them, and you'll catch a glimpse into the soul of someone pretty spectacular. Just try it; you'll see. Trust us.

We know—we did it!

When we asked teachers and aspiring teachers to tell us about the passion, the aspirations, the goals, or the motives that drove them into the field of K–12 education, we expected some pretty cool responses. We had no idea what we were asking for!

There's no way we could pick our favorite responses to call out, no way to identify the best of the best to share here. But luckily, we asked for these comments as part of a Teacher Appreciation Week contest. We picked five commenters at random to win free stuff from the WGU Online Store—and thank goodness for randomization, because it gave us an easy way to select a handful of stories to share with you here.

So here they are, the winners, chosen at random from dozens of truly inspiring entries:

Cindy Williams

I teach because I don’t want any child to go through school thinking that just because they have a learning disability it means they are dumb. Being dyslexic I can tell my students that they can overcome a disability or find ways to use their disability to inspire someone else to strive for their best. My motto is, “Everyone can learn; it is just a matter of finding out how they learn best.” Also, never use “can‘t.” I love to see that “I got it” moment when one of my kiddos gets something we have been plugging away at all year. That is the other reason I teach. Teaching is not my job or career; it is my calling and passion.

Symantha Spencer

I knew I wanted to be a teacher after I gave birth to my daughter at 18. My second-grade teacher and I became Facebook friends. She fueled the fire in me to teach by reminding me of all the fun lesson plans we did. She was also a teacher that saw I was bored in class and would stay after and teach me additional things I would learn the next year in order to get me at the right grade level. I want to be able to help students individually the way she did. I am really blessed to have her influence for the time I did and I can’t wait to finish my degree and start making a change!

Gilbert Burgess

It was my junior year in high school when I realized I was going to be a math teacher. I was taking a teacher cadet class through Coastal Carolina University. I learned the ins and outs of teaching and it was awesome! After that experience, my mind was made up that nothing else could satisfy me like teaching. I knew that was my passion, and by the end of 2016 I will be a graduate of WGU and certified to teach middle-school math.

Ben Balder

There’s a certain ethereal feel being in front of 20-plus open minds. I was one of those minds once. I was naive, I was invincible, but I was moldable. My mind raced with life’s wonders and, growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, those wonders were untainted with the laws and limits of new childhood drama and “rights.” We were kings and queens, knights and heroes, princesses and astronauts. Growing up, my teachers broadened each of those horizons with hands-on learning and free exploration. They allowed us to be free but also to struggle; to really feel the weight of academic pressure, they challenged us. They shared with us our pains and prides, discipline with fairness and honesty (not with restraint and fear of the law). When we succeeded, we knew it. When we got in trouble, we KNEW it. Education was pure. I miss that. And those who have educated me also shaped me to want to fill their shoes. When that day arises and I step onto the podium holding my degree and then receiving my licensure, I will make it my mission to find each of my favorite teachers who have made the most significant impact, and simply thank them. Truly and humbly thank them, for one day I hope to be that kind of teacher I once looked up to. That is why I want to teach.

Jordan Nicole

Teaching is my soul because I have an enormous heart for children! After teaching Sunday school I realized my love to work with children as well and enrolled in WGU for Interdisciplinary Studies. And I was diagnosed with endometriosis, being told I would never have children when my will to be a mother, now at 30, is so strong. I will cherish the children I DO get to have, my future little students, and my passion to help them be the best them possible one day at a time.

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