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No Better Job in the World
By Lisa Westrick

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?"

Lisa Westrick, shown here with her son CJ, received her BS in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master's in reading from Maryland's Salisbury University. After working for nine years as a reading specialist, Westrick has spent the last six years teaching second grade at Frankstown Elementary School in Pennsylvania's Hollidaysburg Area School District. For the past eight years, she also has served as elementary drama director for the district.
Click here to read more about Ms. Westrick.

If I had to do it all over again, would I still become a teacher? Absolutely! I've been asked that question many times in my career -- usually by friends or colleagues after a long, tiring day when I'm complaining about children not behaving, parents not behaving, or any of the many other things that can drive a teacher crazy. I've never altered my reply one bit. The answer is: Absolutely!

You see, teaching is what I was born to do. When I come to work each day, I honestly feel as though every one of my personal strengths, talents, and brain cells is being challenged in a way I can't imagine happening in any other job.

I know, from deep inside, that what I do is important and valuable, even life changing. My own life and the lives of the children I teach develop each and every day in new and often surprising ways. Teacher and writer John W. Schlatter said it best when he wrote, "I have a present that is challenging, adventurous, and fun because I am allowed to spend my days with the future." That is exactly how I feel, how I've always felt about teaching -- even on those bad days.

I've wanted to be a teacher ever since I spent a year with my own wonderful second grade teacher. Throughout high school or college, I never had doubts that I was pursuing the best career. And each day, when my students walk through the door, when I see their eager faces, when I accept their hugs and the pictures they've made just for me, I know there is truly not a better job in all the world.

So, yes, absolutely, I'd do it all again. No question!

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