Today, I had the pleasure of attending a summer stock production of Guys ‘n’ Dolls. Several of my former students were in the cast. Upon arrival, I ran into the parents of one of those cast members, and we chatted briefly. When I went to purchase my ticket, the girl behind the counter informed me that another person had an extra and left it at the window to be given to the first single patron. When I sat down, I thanked the lady next to me who was responsible for the random act of kindness. She proceeded to visit with me about her experiences teaching in the community, and sponsoring several endeavors to promote fine arts. During intermission, I spotted a beloved colleague. After some frantic gesturing and exaggerated mouthing of words, we agreed to meet in up in the lobby after the show…where I ran into many more students and parents with whom I had worked in the past.
The other day, I began this series, “Why Teach?”, by describing the profession as a rollercoaster ride—teaching is never boring.
The narrative of my day at the theater is to illustrate another answer to the question, “why teach?”
Teaching fosters lifelong relationships.
I’m a “people-person”. So entering a profession centered around people was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I’ve written before that I like music, and love people, which is the guiding force for much of my philosophy of teaching. We’ve all heard plenty of clichés that go something like, “teachers touch the future”, and so on. I certainly expected to inspire kids upon entering the classroom, but I could not have predicted how much I would be inspired. By students. By parents. By colleagues.
My first three years of teaching were like most people’s: simultaneously challenging and rewarding. There are several students and colleagues with whom I am still in touch, but two very special friendships emerged from my time at that school—one with a teacher and one with a student. The teacher was a master educator, and someone whose opinion is still important to me. We have shared personal hardships and triumphs with each other, and even though we don’t talk much, when we do bump into each other, we very easily fall into conversation. We still bounce ideas off each other and seek guidance for our projects. The relationship with the student transformed gradually over the years from one of mentoring, to one of mutual respect and friendship. She works with me from time to time on various programs I’m directing, and I seek her opinion just about as much as she seeks mine.
Next year, my first students to see through a music education degree will be student-teaching. I have had the pleasure of mentoring several students into music at the collegiate level, some as majors, and other just to provide a creative and emotional outlet during their college years. Students have invited me to their weddings, sent me college graduation announcements, mailed me pictures when their babies are born. Their parents have friended me on Facebook, filled me in on their lives when I see them at community events, even thanked me years later for my involvement in their child’s high school years. I’ve taught at three different schools now, and formed life-changing if not life-long bonds with many of my colleagues. Thanks to social media, I am now forming those same bonds with educators who aren’t even in my district, let alone my building.
Teaching fosters lifelong relationships.
Here’s how others are responding to the question, “why teach?”:
I Changed Hundreds of Lives–CLICK HERE to Find out How! @ Okeducationtruths
Why Teach? @ Idealistically Realistic
Middle School Lyfe @ For the Love
Me too, I Change Lives, too. @ Educating Me
Why You Shouldn’t Be a Teacher…and Why You Must! @ View from the Edge
Why I Teach! @ Teaching from Here
Why Do I Teach? @ Mrs. Cloud’s Class
Why I Teach @ Room 20 Awesome
Why Teach? @ Teaching Connections
Why, Oh Why Do You Think Becoming a Teacher Is a Good Idea?!? @ Marauding Mentor
Why Teach? (Response to #Oklaed Blogger Challenge) @ BlueCerealEducation
Why I Teach Pt II @ Room 20 Awesome
Why I Teach? For the Differences Made (Laura’s Story) @ Mrs. Water’s English
Why I Teach… @ Jenn Will Teach
#WhyTeach @ The Blog