Some days I’m really aware of how much I love teaching and why, but there are some rough days when I wonder, “Why do I do this?” With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d share 14 reasons I love teaching. Take this list as my valentine to all of you.
14 things I love about teaching
Here they are in no particular order:
1. Seeing how kids think
Kids have amazing ideas and perspectives. It’s fascinating to hear how they approach problems and explain concepts in their own words. I love the creative ideas they come up with for art and writing and building and the connections.
2. Learning something every day
I love to teach, but I also love to learn—and teaching offers lots of opportunities for learning. Whether it’s researching a topic related to student interests or questions or exploring new ideas for how to teach something, I get to explore new ideas a lot. Add a wide mix of cultures and backgrounds in the classroom and the different experience children bring to the classroom and I learn something new daily.
3. Getting to share things I love
What’s your passion? You get to share that with kids. Love reading? That shows through in your language arts and reading lessons. Excited about math? You can share that enthusiasm with students. Nature lovers can bring that into science lessons or through book selection for reading. You can share a favorite author or illustrator with your students or use your love of music to help students remember new ideas.
4. Seeing a light bulb go off in a kid’s head
You know that a-ha moment—when a kid finally gets something or comes up with a brilliant idea of their own? It’s priceless. Sometimes it takes a long time to get there, but it is always worth the effort.
5. Helping kids learn their way
Kids learn differently. Helping kids understand that they can learn and finding different approaches that help each of them learn based on their own learning style isn’t always easy. But I love knowing that a child has both learned the skill or topic—and learned how to learn. I like to think I’m creating lifelong learners.
6. Every day is different.
Teaching is never boring. Despite the routines we create in our classroom, every day is different. It could be a fire drill or a student bringing in a surprising show and tell. It could be a project or game that gets students excited. But every day is a new day (a good thing to remember on bad teaching days.)
7. Watching kids grow and change.
It’s amazing watching kids grow and change over the course of a school year (and perhaps to see them the following year in the school). We know about developmental changes that happen in the age groups we teach, but I love seeing how that plays out in individual students. Students change physically and in how they move and use their bodies. They learn new academic and social skills. It’s almost like getting to know two different kids.
8. Never being bored
Each day being different helps banish boredom. And teaching keeps you on your toes. You need to adapt and adjust to each class and student even if it’s a skill you’ve taught many times before. Plus, I bet as a teacher you have some “you can’t make this stuff up” stories. The unpredictability of kids makes sure you are never bored.
9. Having kids I worked with come back to visit
It doesn’t happen every day, but I love when my former students come back for a visit. They are often quite excited and it’s fun to see what they are up to years after they came through my classroom. It’s particularly gratifying when they remember something that mattered to them, whether it’s a game they loved or a tough situation I helped them with or the feel of my classroom.
10. Getting to inspire kids
Some kids come to school loving to learn. Others aren’t so sure. I hope to inspire kids to love learning, and perhaps more importantly to believe that they can learn and do things. By giving kids opportunities and support and new experiences, I get to inspire them.
11. Getting inspired
The flip side of inspiring kids is getting inspired. I get inspired by kids enthusiasm and creativity. I get inspired by the effort of kids and the struggles some of them overcome. I get inspired by acts of kindness and compassion in my classroom and by the chance to touch our future.
12. The chance to be creative
I love creating new fun ways for kids to grasp and practice. I can turn spelling practice into a game or get kids moving as they learn doubles facts in math. I can use art or music to get kids engaged. I get to be dramatic when reading a story. While some days I’d love a chance to sit down, sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day isn’t for me.
13. Seeing a child take off as they get something new
There’s the a-ha moment when kids get a new skill or concept for the first time and then you get to watch them take off. It’s seeing a child slowly segmenting and blending sounds and piecing together an early reader and then watching them devour books as their fluency and confidence grow. It’s having kids struggle with math problems show a classmate how to do it. It’s a kid who takes what you taught them and asks “What if …” or suggests, “Now we could …”
14. Making a difference.
It may be a cliché that teachers make a difference, but it’s true. Good teachers make a big difference in the lives of their students. We make a difference by caring about them as people, seeing and responding to them as individuals, and building safe, respectful places in our classrooms. Every now and then you will learn what a difference you made in a particular student’s life, but even when you don’t hear it directly from a student or family, you are making a difference—and that feels great.
Those are some of my reasons for loving teaching? What’s the top thing you love about teaching?