Monday, March 19, 2012

Why I'm a Teacher and what I like and dislike about it


I did not start out wanting to be a teacher. I had always wanted to be an engineer. I went to college to be an engineer and worked as an engineer for 10 years before becoming an educator. I was already an EMS Instructor. My mother was a teacher and my sister is a teacher. I had not thought about being a teacher until Winter of 2002. I was working part time and volunteering as a paramedic, as well as working full time as an engineer. I was at EMS chatting with my partner, who was a high school chemistry teacher, and talking about careers and I told him that I love teaching EMS classes and wondered about a teaching career. As we are talking, he notices an ad in the paper for the State's Alternate Route to Certification program coming up that summer. I applied, passed everything and became a high school Physics teacher and 10 years later I'm still a teacher. I've gotten two Master's Degree's in Education (Technology and Leadership), have my own educational blog, write for Tech&Learning Magazine, facilitate professional development in my district and present at educational conferences.I truly enjoy my new career.

People often ask me why I left engineering to become a teacher. They are usually pretty shocked considering the huge pay difference (I still don't make what I made as an engineer 10 years ago). I stated that I had always loved it as an EMS Instructor and as a Boy Scout Merit Badge counselor and thought that I would have something to offer my students with my experience as an engineer. I also figured that my 15 years of experience working in EMS in the city I would be teaching in would give me a good insight into the students' lives and home situations.

I have enjoyed teaching. I love helping students to learn something new, experience something new, and explore things. I love watching them work on labs and projects and seeing the light go off as they discover something. I love hearing them work through problems and projects. I love sharing things with them. I love listening to their stories, hearing about their lives and their dreams, and I love helping them with things that have nothing to do with my class. I love being a mentor to teenagers. I love sharing my love of science with them. I love showing them how smart they really are and what they can accomplish. I love hearing about their successes. I love working with them.

I love working with educators who truly care about students and want to make a difference in their lives. I love collaborating with other educators to come up with lessons, activities, and ideas for helping our students.

What I don't like about teaching is a mix of issues. I don't like the disrespect that we deal with on a daily basis from students, parents and administrators. I don't like students that don't follow the rules, cause trouble, are disrespectful, and don't do their work who face no consequences to their actions and continue to cause trouble. I don't like administrators who pick on teachers instead of helping them. I don't like endless, useless meetings. I don't like politicians and business persons thinking that they are experts in education and dictating what we do. I don't like standardized testing that is invalid and a waste of time and money. I don't like that I spend over $500 a year on supplies and resources for my classroom because the school systems and government don't adequately fund schools. I don't like that my pay is very low, considering my education and responsibilities. I don't like the current "edreform" movement that is not doing anything to help students, but rather is helping private corporations.

I don't like educators who don't care, don't enforce rules, and don't try to constantly improve what they are doing as educators. I don't like administrators who don't support their teachers.

However, everything I like completely outweighs what I don't like. I can't imagine not being a teacher. I endure the disrespect, the constant attacks on my profession, the low pay, the working at home, all because I believe that I can help students learn, grow, and succeed.

Why did you become a teacher? What do you like and dislike about the profession?


Just the Facts Please! The facts about "education reform" from NEA Today

Incompetent Teachers or Dysfunctional Systems? Fix the system to support the teachers.


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