Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘questioning teaching as a profession’

The Reminder

The other day, my son dragged me to the mall.   As we walked into American Eagle, I heard my name, “Mrs.Small”.  I turned and there was Charles. No longer the 5th grade boy who , for a while, fought me at every turn, but a 17 year old young man, who still hadn’t lost that mischievous smile. Not many teachers liked Charles, and they couldn’t understand why I liked him.  He could be obstinate, sometimes, downright disrespectful.  But I saw the sweet Charles, the bright, hard-working Charles, and I nurtured him like all my other students. He’s  in high school focusing on design. He grinned and said, “On Monday, we go to school and get flowers and we’re allowed to bring them to our favorite teacher, but I can’t bring them to you, because I won’t be at school.”  He told me about an upcoming show at his school, where his designs would be showcased.  It was wonderful to see him, and know he was doing well.

 The next day, Charles was at my school with a ticket for me. He wanted me to attend his show.  Of course, I’ll be there  to support Charles,  my reminder of why we do what we do, teach.

“Just” a Teacher!?

view detailsAs I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to  how smart I was.  In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade. 

He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?” 

 “Just a teacher?”, I thought.  I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years. 

 He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”  Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who  he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers. 

 He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”

 I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!” 

 We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe.  I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher. 

Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect.  Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”

I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a  teacher!

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