I continue to be surprised at the number of teachers who tell me that their parents – some blue collar, some white collar, some self-employed – admonished them with “Why do you want to become a teacher? You’ll never make any money.” I never understood that.
That is such an unfair way to describe the work teachers do. Why wouldn’t you want to be a teacher? The job is so critical to our way of life and teachers are highly respected in the community.
Sure you’ll not get rich. Getting rich is not happening for most of us with college degrees. But you will be enriched while you make a decent living for working 180 days. You’ll enjoy good benefits and guaranteed retirement checks that are not dependent upon your investment acumen and not at risk if your company goes under.
Teaching is a calling and not easy to do well. Although I’d like to and will work to pay our teachers more, I know why they do what they do and why they keep doing it even when not satisfied with the compensation.
Last month, I came across an article in the School Administrator – the school superintendent’s national magazine, written by Kirk Lewis, a School Superintendent in the Pasadena Independent School District in Texas. He heard someone use that worn out saying – Those who can do. Those who can’t teach. He got really annoyed at that tired old saying that suggests that teaching is some sort of job to settle into if you have no marketable skills. He parlayed that annoyance into creative energy composing a number of alternatives to that tired old cliché’. With his permission, I share them with you here.
Those who can’t abide ignorance in any form…teach.
Those who can’t accept that a life of poverty is the inevitable outcome for children of poverty…teach.
Those who can’t stand to see any child disengage from learning...teach.
Those who can’t ignore the emotional and social needs of their students…teach.
Those who can’t look into a hurting child’s eyes without feeling his or her pain…teach.
Those who can’t allow any child to do less than he or she is capable of doing…teach.
Those who can’t leave unspoken any word of encouragement…teach.
Those who can’t imagine any profession more personally fulfilling...teach.
Those who can’t help but see each child as a gift to this world…teach.
Christina Yuknis said it best. “Teaching is not a 9-5 job. It is a career that can easily become a lifestyle, taking over every waking minute of every day.”