Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why I Never Left the Classroom

This is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time, but have been scared to. Scared that someone might judge me. Scared that someone might think that I am just another teacher complaining about being overworked and underpaid. Scared that my colleagues may read and look at me differently for the thoughts and feelings I have often experienced towards my profession.


However, when I posted a sweet video of my morning block as they were leaving my classroom yesterday, I felt the certainty. In the caption I wrote, "They are the reason I am not a teacher-burnout statistic." I knew that those feelings and words finally needed a place to rest, and so here they are.


I am currently in my sixth year of teaching, and more times than I can count I have wanted to leave the profession. I can remember back to my second year, thinking that I wanted to go back to school for my masters, but wanted to get a different degree because I wanted to have options other than teaching.

There were days where the paperwork, demands, and endless meetings brought me down. One of those days was this past week. I thought of a life that would be easier if I were to leave the education field. A job where I could work 9-5 and leave the work right where it should be, at work. What a lifestyle change that could be for me. I could spend more time reading books for enjoyment. I wouldn't have to write 12 pages of lesson plans for the following week. I wouldn't feel so exhausted at the end of the day that I could maybe get myself to the gym. I wouldn't go home constantly thinking about my students and worrying about them all night.


But I didn't choose teaching. Teaching chose me. This is one thing that I have confidence in.

Teaching has always been my passion. Ever since I could boss around my 3 little brothers and sister with my overhead projector and transparencies which my parents bought for me off Ebay. (Yes, I still have it... And yes, my brothers and sister still talk to me.)


Why I will never leave the classroom, and why I am not a teacher-burnout statistic... the happiness and light in a child's eyes when returning from a break and realizing she has a safe place to be again.

The hours of preparation for a lesson that doesn't happen, because learning on-the-fly is much more fun (and rewarding... try it sometime).

When a child reads a book and is so engrossed in it, that you can't help but to read it with him to share in his meaningful discussions. (PS, said book is several grade levels above his reading level, according to a benchmark assessment...)

When a student, who was given no hope by several people in your building, scores not a Level 1 but a Level 2 on a state test because YOU believed in him.

When you look at your students' passions for learning and realize that that passion is because of you.


These are only a handful of the reasons that I choose to stay in the classroom. In MY classroom. Because no matter how many hours are spent preparing, how many tears are cried from frustration (Don't worry, joyful tears are shed too!), or how many times you are told that someone doesn't have a pencil... I have a purpose, and that purpose is to play a critical part in the lives of my students.

If you are a teacher, thank you. Thank you for not giving up on the future. Thank you for having confidence in your students. Thank you for believing in a profession that so many have lost hope for.

If you aren't a teacher, thank you for being our cheerleaders.