Why I Teach


I am a person who likes thinking about things. I like thinking about the why, and I like understanding what motivates people. As an apprentice teacher this year, there has been a lot of work and discussion around “the why”. Why we are here, why we are the way we are, why we teach.

Why do I teach? I ask myself this often. Not because I am unsure of this profession I have entered into, but more because I feel a deep need to articulate the why in a way that is truthful, in a way that articulates why I believe in teaching as urgent, important, beautiful work. And so for this reason, this searching for the right words, the answer to why I teach feels simultaneously quite simple and very complicated.

At its most basic, I guess I teach because I believe in human beings. I believe in human beings as makers of change, as artists, creators, thinkers, as compassionate individuals who care about the world outside their window. I believe that teachers have the incredible privilege of working with students as they set out on this journey into the world.

I teach because I believe in learning as something that is joyful, exciting, and exploratory, not a series of tests. I teach because my students make me smile, and because I think we can all learn wonder, humility, and humor from spending an extended amount of time with a group of 10-12 year olds.

This is only the beginning. I imagine it will be a life-long process, trying to find the proper combination of words that describe why I teach. But I do love thinking about it, trying to parse apart the pieces, and listening to how others describe their answer to this question. Why do you teach? I’d love to listen.



  1. I enjoyed what you wrote, connect most to the words in the belief in human beings. I taught because I love children and wanted a job in which I spent lots of time with them, thus became a teacher. Thanks for sharing and asking

  2. This is a question I think about and write about often. I seem to always come back to I teach because I believe in the possible. But you are right, I think it is a life-long process that will change the more we teach.

  3. That’s a great question that can be difficult to answer. I think over time the answer changes as well. New stories added. New connections with students. New learning. My answer for why I teacher is ever growing and changing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!

  4. This is a beautifully written teacher statement. I hope that the beliefs you have for human beings and learning will stay strong.

  5. I love this! You are in it for all the right reasons! Keep this post handy…it’ll help you write your educational philosophy later on (if you haven’t already).

    Why do I teach? Because I don’t know how not to teach. Because I love learning, and I love sharing that joy with others. Because seeing that spark of curiosity ignited, seeing that lightbulb moment when it just clicks, and seeing students grow and change everyday is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have! Oh, and we get summers off…isn’t that why we all teach? 😉

  6. I love how you crafted this post. Why do I teach? The students. I’m there because of them. Sounds trite, but it’s true. Now, I want to delve into this question more. Perhaps I’ll be slicing about this soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I’m going to have to borrow this for a slice later in the month too! I like Michelle’s response–that our answers change over time. For me, I teach because it’s the best way I know to learn! Your classroom sounds like just the kind of classroom I wish my son could experience more often!

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