Ben Kissam is a writer, standup comedian, coach, and former middle school teacher. His blog, coachk.co, offers satirical advice for self-improvement and achievement.
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Two, four, six, eight—who do we appreciate? Teachers, of course!
Perpetually hard-working and perennially underappreciated, teachers shape our future by molding our children's minds and hearts. But teaching is a tough job and that's why it's important that we take proper time to recognize and thank them.
Further Reading: My Inspiration to Be a Teacher
Whether they're in the classroom for a year or for life, teachers deserve appreciation for their important work shaping young minds. To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked educators about their teaching journeys. The answers we received were inspiring and insightful.
Some people, it seems, were just born to do this work. Others feel the calling through life experience or a series of events that leads them to teach. Maybe they worked in a corporate job but felt a need for more meaningful connection, to make a tangible difference.
"I always loved to teach," says Nancy Barile, an educator who teaches just outside of Boston. "I felt I had a 'gift' for it. I'd sit in class in high school thinking of ways I'd teach the lesson to help kids understand it better."
Whether destiny or dumb luck, the ways teachers entered the field are myriad, but it's the why that provides meaning in their work and helps them endure tough times in the profession: the kids.
Sure, there will be days where you don't love every student in your class. But being catalysts for change and growth in young people's lives is a unique and powerful opportunity. It helps us survive the tough days. It gives us that weird feeling we can't explain at the end of summer break when we're ready for school to start. (The same one we kick ourselves for two weeks into the new school year.)
It's hard to explain the connection we have with our students, but it's what keeps us coming back for more.
Don't get it twisted: teachers are qualified to do more than teach. We're teachers, but we're also counselors, writers, editors, equipment managers, custodians, and teammates. We're experts in at least one subject. We're superheroes in street clothing—well, at least on casual Fridays.
But if we hadn't picked education, what would we have done? The teachers we spoke to gave a range of answers: journalist, sports broadcaster, event coordinator, publicist, musician, scientist.
Though disparate, these careers share overlapping skill sets, and those skills—such as communication skills, the ability to work with people, self-expression, teamwork—make for great teachers, too. Even in our alternate careers, the blueprint of a teacher's spirit shines through.
We're sure you would've been great at whatever job you chose. But thanks for choosing to be a teacher. We appreciate you.
Numbers don't lie, and the numbers here tell us that not everyone who starts in education stays in it for the long haul.
What makes the committed stick it out? Survey says:
We survive the early years the same way we endure later on. Being a teacher is about loving and connecting with people.
Our teachers' answers speak for themselves:
Further Reading: 5 Reasons to Love Teaching
Whether you're considering becoming a teacher or you're already a grizzled classroom veteran, we appreciate you. Thank you for making a difference in young people's lives. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!