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.