What is your Teacher “Why”? What even IS a Teacher “Why”?
Your Teacher “Why” is a few sentences or a paragraph about why you first became a teacher, and what keeps you in teaching year after year. Teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a profession with a clear impact. And for many teachers it’s their vocation.
When I applied to Teach for America, I’m pretty sure I had to write a paragraph about why I wanted to become a teacher. Little did I know then, but I was writing my first Teacher “Why.” While I’ve since lost the original statement, I know I spoke about my love of learning and how I wanted to share that with others. Lofty, simple, a bit selfish. And actually, can I tell you something? I think my Teacher “Why” has gotten more selfish as the years have gone on.
I continue to teach year after year, because I love the job: I love making my classroom colorful, I love the energy from the kids, I love organizing everything, and I love deciding how best to deliver the content I’m passionate about. As a teacher, I’ve found I’m learning as much as I’m teaching. I love that feeling. I also never feel sleepy at work or dread going in the next day – anyone who’s ever had a job knows how big this is! I love the cyclical nature of teaching. What I can say going into my 7th year of teaching is that I no longer doubt if I’ve chosen the right profession. I know this is it.
Every year I share my “Why” with my classes. It’s not as detailed as what I just told you, but it helps the kids know right away that I’m serious about what I do. Here are two of my slides I’ve shared in the past on day-one power points:
It’s powerful to go back to your “Why.” When you realize that you’re choosing to continue to teach each year, you approach it with new energy. So take 5-10 minutes to write your Teacher “Why” or revisit and revise your “Why.” And I’ll leave you with my favorite Teacher “Why” one of my first coworkers wrote on a big, public, inspirational poster at a teaching workshop:
#WhyITeach … I teach for the FAME, MONEY, and POWER.
These reflection questions (and MUCH MORE!) are a part of my ’20-’21 Teacher Planning Workbook which is launching on Amazon this Friday!
Sending summer vibes,
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