Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why teach?

It's a simple question:

Why teach?

Every aspiring teacher is asked that question in one form or another.

I asked it today. I was part of our school district team at a teacher job fair. Every interview started with a variation of the question: Why were you drawn to education? Why did you want to become a teacher? Why did you choose to be a teacher?

In short, why teach?

The answers were mostly the same.

"I always wanted to be a teacher."

"I enjoy working with kids."

"I was successful coaching and it seems that is a lot like teaching."

"I'm good at math."

"I like kids."

The question is, most of the time, intended as a set-up question. An ice breaker if you will. And the answers were all appropriate. But none completely satisfactory.

Why teach?

Because it is important. Because it can make a difference. Because it opens up doors. Because it teaches people how to think and solve problems and grow.

Because it helps people discover who they are. Because it gives kids confidence. Because teachers  prepare students for their life.

Because it changes lives. Because teachers get to see five and eight and thirteen and eighteen year-olds struggle and work and think and change and grow.

Because teaching matters!

When I ask someone the question - why teach? - I want to hear an answer that convinces me that she understands the power of education to transform a life.

Why teach? is not an ice breaker or a set-up question. It is the question. And I want my district to hire people who understand the importance of that little question.

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