My math coach, Tricia, always talks about moments. She reminds me constantly to remember the moments, because not every day of teaching will feel like a win. To help me remember the moments, she always starts our coaching meetings by asking me to share a highlight of my week. We frequently sit in silence for a bit while I internally filter through all the things that I felt went wrong in my week before finally landing on the moments of joy I had overlooked.
This past October has been particularly difficult for me as I adjusted from teaching in my own classroom to teaching in two different rooms. As a result, I haven’t made it a point to stop and remember the moments, and I frequently found myself dwelling on school stressors long after the last bell rang.
As an ode to Tricia and in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I wanted to spotlight a few reasons why Life is Good® as a teacher. On days that I doubt myself as a teacher, I hope this can be a reminder as to why I love being in the classroom. If you’ve been struggling through October (like me!) I hope this will jumpstart warm fuzzy reasons for why you teach!
1. It is not a desk job.
For a while, I convinced myself that a desk job would be the most amazing job ever. I imagined being able to get comfortable in front of a computer, kick off my shoes, and sit cross-legged in my seat all day while plugged into my favorite playlist. I’d start my day by opening up all my favorite snacks around me and snapping open a chilled can of seltzer from my mini fridge before tackling my to-do list.
Having experienced a desk job for a week earlier this year, I’m so glad to be back in the classroom. A desk job can be lonely, you can more quickly lose sight of the ‘why,’ and your daily step count goes way down. I love that teaching doesn’t happen in isolation. In all the schools I’ve been in, I’ve always had coworkers who will listen to my struggles and can relate with my experiences. I love that I can joke around with my coworkers while working to brainstorm the best way to support our students. I also appreciate that teaching allows me to stay active. I’m always on my feet while teaching and am frequently circulating around my room to check in with students. The fast pace of the classroom allows me to easily stay engaged and focused, and being around my students daily means that I’m constantly surrounded by the reasons why I choose to teach.
2. Experiencing the AHA moments!
As a student, I was never the strongest in math. In fact, I would say that I was *gasp* bad at math. As a math teacher now, I can relate to my students who struggle more with math, and as a result, I work hard to make their math learning more concrete by pushing the WHY instead of just the strategies. I love watching wins of all kinds happen in my classroom. A win may look like a student struggling with the content at the beginning of class and then defending their solution by the end of class, or even a student who works hard all year to understand integer operations before finally mastering that skill. The magic of witnessing students’ AHA moments is difficult to put into words.
3. Watching my students grow up.
I am distinctly aware of how privileged I am to get to spend so much of every day with each student and become such an integral part of my students’ lives. Not only do I get to watch them grow during the year academically but also as a human being. My annual end-of-year videos ALWAYS leave me bawling; it is both surreal and humbling to be reminded of how much growth happens in a single year. This year, I returned to my school in Boston after a year away, and my former 7th graders are currently freshmen in high school. I was shocked to see how the lapse of one year has turned my 7th graders into almost full-grown adults! It reminds me that even though I am only with my students for a year, the impact goes well beyond that year. I get to help shape and launch the next cohort of adults into our world, and I will always be thankful for this opportunity.
In the spirit of giving thanks and remembering moments, I’d love to hear your list. Why are you grateful to be a teacher? Share with me in the comments below!