One of the incredible teachers at our school, Annie, partnered up with ANOTHER incredible teacher at our school, Sarah, and gave the teachers of Freedom a challenge: tell us why you teach.
In short, my #whyIteach was: “…because money isn’t everything, but changing lives is.”
I titled this post “be realistic” because, let’s be realistic, teachers don’t make a lot of money for the amount of work we put in on a daily basis. We all know it. Most of us complain about it.
Late weeknights, weekends, extracurriculars, chaperoning school events, taking classes over the summers, holding second (and third, and fourth) jobs…and none of this includes the business of our personal lives.
But, let’s be realistic: we didn’t go into this field for the money. At least, none of the teachers I know did. And the teachers who have inspired me most, the ones who made me want to fight for a teaching job? The teachers I think about when I’m facing the challenges that present themselves to me day in and day out? The teachers who inspired the anecdotes I still share, 10, 15, 20 years later while I’m at brunch with my parents? They didn’t (and don’t) do it for the money.
So why do I teach?
To honor those teachers. To be there for my own kids (and yes, they are MY kids, all of them!). To support my kids the way that I was supported as a student. To offer them the best possible education that I can. To find new ways to engage them, entertain them, build relationships with them. To break through to them, and push them, and make them angry that I’m pushing them. To believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves. To hold them to a higher standard than society does.
Yes, I could make six figures. Yes, I could work less hours. But for what? How would I answer that question?
Money isn’t everything, but changing lives is.
Reality in a hashtag.
(click the link, but beware: some PG-13 language included) #whyIteach