The Three Best Things About Teaching
By Todd Grina, Middle School Principal
How often have you heard the saying, the three best things about teaching are June, July and August? Many will think that this is three months that the teacher has vacation just like the students. But you should know that more often than not, this is not the case. Teachers use June, July and August to become better at their craft.
Teachers are life-long learners and this is their time to become students. During the summer months they take classes relating to their subject area because they are passionate about what they teach and want to stay up to date on the latest trends and teaching techniques in their subject area. They take classes on how to connect with twenty-five to thirty different individuals in one class. All of whom have differing levels of knowledge and different learning styles. They take classes to learn new ways to motivate the unmotivated. They may take a class just because they are interested in learning something new. But they certainly don’t stop being a teacher because the calendar says June, July and August.
Why do they do this? Because teachers believe that what they teach is important and want to know their curriculum as best they can. Teaching is more than just assigning chapters to read in a text book and handing out work sheets or assigning math problems as homework. Teaching is about preparing students for life as best we can.
Why do they do this? Because teachers love their job. The days can be long. Students can be reluctant learners. Administration and colleagues can be difficult to work with at times. Parents are not always supportive. But even on the worst days when a teacher questions their own ability, there will be that one child that has the light bulb go on. That makes it all worth it and they can’t imagine doing anything other than being a teacher.
Why do they do this? Because they love their students. Even the ones who forget to bring a pencil and paper to class every day. Even the ones who have so much to share they forget to raise their hand and blurt out. Teachers go home at night worrying about the student who can’t afford to pay for the Tech Ed project, PE uniform or field trip. They worry about the student who has a history of self-harming. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a teacher say, “If I could take the student home with me”, I could be retired.
Often times the media portrays our education system as broken down and has classrooms full of burnt out teachers who couldn’t hack it in the “real” world of work. I know, as an administrator for Hutchinson Public Schools that this is simply not accurate. Hutchinson Public schools has many of the smartest, most patient and caring people I will ever work with. They are people who could be employed in other occupations, making more money and facing less public criticism. But instead they chose to continue as educators because they believe in the difference they can make in the lives of the students they teach. The Hutchinson community is fortunate to have such people teaching your children.
So when June, July and August roll around, remember being an educator does not stop for teachers.