The Passion of Teaching
When one dreams of becoming a teacher, a vision is in place of what it will be like. I often envisioned students who would come to class thriving for the information that I was prepared to provide them that day. I envisioned helping students learn who struggled, and seeing the excitement in a student’s eyes when they finally understood the content. These visions are what led me to the teaching profession. While some visions are not necessarily an automatic reality, and take more time and dedication to achieve, this vision is one of the reasons why teaching is my passion.
One of the greatest accomplishments a person can make is having an affect on a child. From day one, I knew that I would set out to help each child grow in mathematics. I thrive on the experience of seeing a child, who has difficulty in math, to smile and say, “I actually understand this!” I am driven to help every child develop strong mathematical reasoning skills that are necessary for not simply current, but also future success in math. Math is built off logic. If we, as educators do not dedicate time to allow students to explore that logic, students are left to memorizing procedures and rules. Every child has the potential to learn the math content at rigorous levels, and I push students every day to prove that to themselves.
Although helping students learn a series of mathematical standards is the primary responsibility a beginning teacher envisions, this is often only a small component of being a “teacher.” Developing a child into a responsible, young adult can be equally rewarding, if not more rewarding than teaching a child academic expectations. One of my greatest accomplishments happened when a young gentleman was enrolled in my regular education class, from a Behaviorally and Emotionally Disabled classroom. When he arrived, this child never spoke to or looked at anyone. When he ate lunch, he turned his chair around so that no one could talk to him. From day one, it was my personal goal, to help this child feel comfortable to become an active participant in my classroom, and in turn give him a sense of belonging. With the help of constant support, a positive classroom environment, and the acceptance that the entire class gave “Jamar,” he slowly broke out of his shell. I will never forget the day “Jamar” raised his hand and answered a question for the very first time in my class! My heart still skips a beat when I remember the life changing progress this child made that year. But the time I took with “Jamar” was not motivated by any test score results or state mandated content standards, rather the passion to help a child in need. Once one experiences such a dramatic transformation in a child, one never underestimates the impact he or she can have on a child’s life.
While helping a child not only academically, but also through life seems like an incredible accomplishment in itself, there is yet another aspect of my vision that became crystallized after I became a teacher. My vision of a teacher focused simply on the growth of a child, and I failed to understand the growth that I personally would make, as a teacher. Teaching is as much about my growth as a teacher, as it is about participating in the academic and social growth of a child. When one is truly passionate about something, it is understood that the passion is never perfected. This passion drives me to constantly seek out information and education, which will in turn, help me to become a better a teacher. The greatest personal accomplishment that one can make is to never stop striving for improvement.
Therefore, being a teacher and the growth that can be made is much more substantial than the growth that one originally envisions as a beginning teacher. Once in the field, one must not only focus on student content growth, but the overall growth of the students and oneself. When teaching becomes a true passion for a person, one cannot help being humbled by the accomplishments that can be made in the life of a child and in the life of a teacher!