What is teaching like today? Who should do it? And who shouldn't? This Education World series features essays on teaching by teachers as they answer the question, "If you had it to do all over again, would you still become a teacher?"
Many years ago one of my high school students asked me the question, "Mrs. Kindred, why do you teach?" Without taking time to reflect, I answered, "Because someday I might say something that might make a difference in someone's life." Even though I was sincere, that wasn't a very good answer and my student didn't let it slide.
"Let me get this straight," he said, "You went to college for four years so you could come here every day because you have the hope that someday you might say something that will influence someone?" He shook his head as if I were crazy and walked away looking confused.
Actually, it was more than four years of college because Kentucky teachers are required to get their masters degree, but I didn't tell him that. I never have done well with spur of the moment retorts. I'm one of those people who look back and wish they had said something smart or witty, but in real life, I'm just not a quick thinker.
Even though that particular student might no longer wonder why I teach, there are days when I wonder. On those days, I remind myself of the real reasons I teach:
Teaching isn't for everyone, but I know I made the right career choice. You either love it or you don't -- and I do.
Click here to return to the main article.
Copyright © 2005 Education World