Sunday, February 15, 2015

#loveteaching: The Light And The Dark

Gary Abud, Jr. (Michigan Teacher of the Year, 2013-2014) started a social media teacher campaign using #loveteaching to connect educators this Valentine's Week and it allowed me to do some nice reflection.

I #loveteaching for one reason: I get the opportunity--every day--to mold young people's minds. I get to encourage them to use their words to express who they are and what they believe. That's a BIG deal.

Somehow, in one class, I get the privilege of teaching--

  • the grammar goddess who scoffs at others for misplacing their apostrophes
  • the cynical smart guy who doesn't think highly of his abilities--or anyone else's for that matter
  • the quiet exchange student who is slowly getting more and more confident as time moves on
  • the feminist who wants to move away from girls getting in trouble for dress code violations to teaching boys how to avoid objectifying them
  • the adopted activist who wants to build a non-profit for students who live challenging lives
  • the girl who wants to be goth, but can't because of her mother
  • the photographer
  • the grade-below smarty
  • the Jesus freak
  • the atheist
  • the actor
  • the athlete
  • the organist

I get to challenge myself--to use my brains, my creativity, my compassion, and my passion--to connect with these young people, to get them to think deeply about who they are now and who they want to be.

But there's a sadness that must be admitted: as soon as the autonomy, the passion, and the purpose are gone, I will no longer #loveteaching.

Here's to hoping the educational system understands what it must do to keep its most dedicated employees.