First, let me start by letting you know that I left teaching for my family. I didn’t leave teaching because of “kids these days,” the helicopter parents, the lack of resources, the too much technology, the politics, or any of the other bad things that are said about the profession. I left because my second born was six weeks old, my mother was just diagnosed with advanced cancer, and my dad was aging quickly. Period.
But why I’m re-entering teaching is important. So, please—listen up.
1. Many students out there don’t have a strong mentor. I’ve had students who live in poverty, have been abused by their parents, have been molested by their family members, have parents in prison, are teenage parents themselves, and much, much more. For me, teaching was more than showing students how to cite properly their research papers and more about mentoring students like these, especially the young women. So, I’m going to show up for them again—and again—and again.
2. Teaching makes me a better human. Reading and listening to the stories of my students makes me strive to want better for humanity. Watching them work hard makes me want to work harder for them, too. No, that doesn’t make teaching easy, but it makes it necessary.
3. My students are worth fighting for. There’s too much technology. There’s not enough positive impact happening in the homes. Resources are abysmal. Administrators ask too much of both the teachers and the students. Politics are rampant. I get it. I’ve been there. But in my classroom, I will shut the door, and do my best. I will give my all to those students because, honestly, that’s all they need. They’ll succeed because I’ll push them to do just that.
4. I’ve seen students rise to the occasion. Really. Students aren’t “lazy” these days. They just need someone to raise that damn bar higher for them, and then to tell them that they can actually catapult themselves over it. They need someone who will hold them accountable. They need someone who will challenge them and NEVER give them the easy way out. They need someone who will do all of that while also showing them compassion. Students can achieve when there are people in their lives who believe in them—and teachers are often the ones doing just that.
5. I know, damn well, that teachers make a difference. Sometimes you don’t even know the impact you’ve made in the classroom until a decade later. Just a few weeks ago, I had an old student call me out of nowhere. She was in the middle of a serious crisis when she pressed my numbers on her phone. She didn’t remember a lesson I taught her about the semicolon (or how much I despise it), but she remembered the compassion in my voice when she’d come into my classroom before school to talk. Teachers make a difference.
This is why I’m heading back into the classroom and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Will it be it easy? No. My pay is much less than it was before because I’ll be an adjunct professor this time around. I’ll have no insurance. I’ll be commuting far—and between two colleges. I’ll spend nights and weekends grading essays and creating lesson plans. But I’m eager about the students—to learn about their journeys. And most importantly, hoping to become a part of theirs—guiding them, encouraging them, and challenging them to do their best.
So, there you have it. That’s why I’m going BACK into the best profession out there—teaching.