#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.

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