One of the most popular questions in a teacher interview is, “Why did you become a teacher?” I remember a professor prepping us for this question by telling us not to answer with, “Because I love kids.” While it may be cliche, it better be a major part as to why you became a teacher. Seriously…
If you are a secondary teacher, your answer might be more content-related, and so I hope you care more about the students in your classroom than the material you are teaching.
I know teachers who chose this profession because they loved children, and became hardened over time. They are the ones I wanted to avoid in the teacher’s lounge, in the workroom, and even in the hallways. That’s not to say that I didn’t have down days, too. It’s just that my love for kids always remained intact. I was genuinely happy to see my former students at the ball diamonds, in the grocery store, at church.
I can honestly say that out of fourteen years as a classroom teacher, there is only one past student that I would go the other way if I saw him on the streets. He was scary as a second grader, and he’s scarier now as a young adult. While I want to avoid him because I’m somewhat sure he’s a sociopath, my heart still hurts for him (from a safe distance, of course).
I wish this level of fulfillment from every educator, in every system, across the country, throughout the world. You may say I’m a dreamer, and I hope I’m not the only one.
I get that teachers get burned out and leave the classroom. There’s a story about it in the news every year. I agree that if someone no longer believes in the students in her class, and no longer values them as humans and learners, then yes- maybe it’s time to leave. But don’t just get out of the classroom- get out of education altogether. I see too many of those teachers decide to leave the classroom for administration, and frankly, those are not the people I would want to see leading our schools.
I want to see administrators who believe in the power of education. I need to see leaders who empower their teachers. I crave to see educators who love on the kids from every level.
Some might argue that someone could be in the business or information technology areas of a school system and not have to love kids. I totally disagree. I want CFOs and CTOs of school systems who put students’ needs first when making decisions for the organization. If they are solely focused on the tools they provide, the services they offer, or their department’s bottom line, then the entire organization suffers.
And when children are the key focus of that organization, I don’t want them to pay the price of adults who have lost sight of their value.