Monday, April 29, 2013

Be a Teacher

So many of my friends are graduating, transitioning, and thinking about what's next. In the past weeks, I've seen friends who are smart, capable, and ambitious take big steps on their searches for jobs to help them feel fulfilled and fulfilling. I have some advice for people like that: be a teacher.

If you are looking for a job that feeds the body, mind, and soul, be a teacher. If you want a job that serves our country, be a teacher. If you want a job that is challenging, meaningful, and (probably) uses your undergraduate major, be a teacher. If you want a job that is results-oriented, be a teacher. If you want a job where you can make up all sorts of glorious spreadsheets to track progress and places to improve, be a teacher.

If you want a job that causes you to question, learn, and grow every day, be a teacher.

I have really frustrating days where I feel like I'm at war with cell phones, social media, and the culture of instant gratification. I have days when I am tired, stressed, or worried about money. But the pace and the mission both mean I sleep well at night. My heart breaks for those teachers who counsel others against joining our profession. This is an exciting time to be a teacher.

The standardized test culture frustrates me and damages my students' creativity. Sometimes those who ascribe to a certain type of reform make me really angry at their inability to think about a bigger picture when it comes to school's purpose.  But how can you change those parts that frustrate you if you don't get involved? And how can you stay away when the rewards are so very rich and so very real?

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