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Not Just a Job!
By Linda Villadoniga

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?"

I most certainly would go into teaching again if I had to do it all over again. The rewards are not monetary -- we all know that. But just seeing the light bulb go on, or hearing a student say that you've made an impact on his or her life is what it's all about. I have kept in touch with so many students over the years -- some from my second grade class, almost 20 years ago -- that I know that I'm in the right profession.

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Teaching should be a vocation, though, not something you go into because of the vacations. If that's why a person wants to teach (and gosh, I know they are out there!) then I say to them, don't do it.

My son also is a teacher. I've always thought he would make an excellent teacher, because of his patience and rapport with students. He didn't think so, though; so he went and got a master's in city planning from Georgia Tech. sooner did he complete his studies than he decided that maybe teaching wasn't so bad after all. (His reasoning apparently had been that, because I worked so many hours, teaching wasn't for him!)

Richard Villadoniga

Today, my son is a gifted teacher -- the students love him, as do the parents and school administrators. He is pursuing NBCT (national certification) this year, and I've got to tell you, his videos are phenomenal. He's got the kids on the edges of their seats, hanging on to every word and clamoring to participate. That's what teaching is all about. Needless to say, I am proud of him, and I hope I played a small part in his decision to become a teacher.

I repeat, though, teaching has to be your vocation, not just your job.

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Linda Villadoniga

Linda Villadoniga, who has a B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in education with a Spanish minor, has been teaching since 1971. In the past 30+ years, she's taught Spanish at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, at Junipero Serra School in Carmel, California, at Cathedral Parish School, St. Johns River Community College, and Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and at Florida's Daytona Beach Community College. She currently teaches at St. Augustine (Florida) High School. In addition to teaching Spanish, Villadoniga, who has been a National Board Certified Teacher (the first in Northern Florida) since 2002, is the coordinator of the Cambridge International Examinations Program, under the auspices of the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. This year, she was chosen as the Florida Foreign Language Association's Teacher of the Year. Villadoniga has two children; Richard, a 7th grade geography teacher in St. Johns County, Florida, and a daughter, Vicki, who owns her own interior design business.

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