Thursday, March 22, 2007

Finding a "Keeper"

This post is a response to the young science teacher with whom I am so lucky to be working this year. She encountered a teacher who expressed a rather defeated attitude about his work as a teacher. This set my young colleague to some very deep thinking about what's really in this profession for those of us who give it our all day in and day out.

"So, was your colleague wondering about the big question? Why do we teach? I teach, therefore I am!? Maybe that's it. I am a teacher. That's my identity, I can't help myself. I just have to teach. Not be an expert, know it all. Just a teacher. A guide. A leader.

Good teaching is all consuming. Nothing else can be in your mind; you must be intellectually and physically active every moment in which students are present. I like that. I enjoy pushing myself to figure out what each student needs and how am I ever going to provide for all those needs. If I don't try, who will? My 4th grade teacher, Sister Leandra, told me that every person has a purpose in life; a reason to exist. She told me to seek my purpose, look for "signs." So many signs led me (and I bet this is true for you, too) to teach.

Teaching may be the last bastion of altruism. A place where you can give of yourself for a greater good. If you are a skilled, thoughtful, intelligent practitioner, you can sleep peacefully every night knowing you've spent your waking hours engaged in small, but daily acts of heroism and compassion. Now, "where does that get" me?

Those of us who love teaching, never ask "where does it get you." That question just never comes up. Hang in there Jess. You're just not the kind of person who can be comfortable without the challenge of living a meaningful life."


Jess said...

Debbie, I am so proud of you starting your very own blog! Yea! Welcome to the world of e-dialogue, where you can have an intellectual conversation with someone across the globe on your own time and at your own pace. I enjoy this new way to journal because you get opportunities to digest information, process it and regurgitate your own observations, thoughts and insights.

You have been an inspiration to so many, Debbie. And I am so proud, blessed and tickled pink to have been your muse for a year. Love ya!

Jason said...

Welcome to the blogosphere Debbie. I am looking forward to reading your posts.