Teaching in the best of years is a challenging proposition. But this past year? Whew! Recently one of our friends in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook asked colleagues to share what has kept them going during this difficult year. She wrote, “What is keeping you from quitting? How do you keep your love for teaching alive?”
Here’s what they had to say.
The desire to continuously perfect my work, meeting new students and seeing new imaginations and creative mindsets, and my endless desire to justifiably buy Papermate Flair pens. —Tyler M.
The challenge. I came to teaching late and found most jobs get boring really quickly. So far, teaching is a blast. I may inject caffeine every morning and spend more on room supplies than on my entire wardrobe, but I like that kids are puzzles. Adorable, frustrating enigmas. They keep me learning and growing. I like that. —Jen W.
I honestly just look at it as it’s one of the only professions that I can get a do-over every 180 days. Not many other jobs have that. —Karen M.
I love what I do. My mind has always been thinking about making learning fun and engaging since I was in college. —Katrina M.
I stay for the passion I have for the subject I teach and the kids I teach. —Lissandra C.
I thrive in a good challenge, and as long as this career challenges me and I have hope for a better future. You know, one of these kids is going to become rich and famous and eventually write me a check and thank me in a public speech, right?! I’m hopeful. —Melody V.
I like designing interactive material and telling people stuff and explaining things. Generally, I just liked school as a kid (except middle school), and now I get to be in school. I love learning and knowing there is always something new to learn and get better at. —Jennifer P.
The hope that once we get through this year, future years will be a piece of cake (in comparison). —Ana T.
I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can each day, trying to laugh at as much as possible, great colleagues, remembering that “this too shall pass,” lots of deep breaths. —Beth M.
Knowing that I LOVE teaching and LOVE my students and I KNOW this will not last forever. I am praying for a new start next year! —Donna O.
I focus on the little wins. Like the student that had problems all year, but they finally asked for help. It’s the small wins that get lost in the long run. —Jessica P.
It makes me happy to know that I make an impact on the lives of others and that I am helping. You know that last song in Hamilton? Well, I know who tells my story, but I get to help thousands of children instead of hundreds. I get to watch them grow up, and I’ve even held their babies. —Jennifer P.
I love the idea of pouring into and having a part in shaping the minds of future citizens. So, I stay because it is a gift. —Christina P.
I love watching kids grow into individuals. Guiding them through ups and downs has been the greatest accomplishment of my life. They give me hope for the future. —Jean M.
I helped a student who is homeless today. I started to cry after our study club. This is why I teach. —Patti B.
I love my students. And I know that my students have literally no other schooling options in our country. If I leave, they have to leave… —Elisabeth N.
I work with a great staff in a small rural community. We are a small, dysfunctional family that has each other’s back. We have great kids and overall great parents. Our upper administrators are also very supportive. I love seeing our kids and my coworkers every day. —Libby S.
I have a FABULOUS admin team now; they make all the ridiculousness easier to deal with on a daily basis. —Beth D.
The environment/families I work with. I left the public school system 7 years ago for a private Catholic school. It was the best decision. I have hardworking students with minimal behaviors. I get to “teach” and don’t waste time managing students. Families are supportive, and the admin trusts us as professionals. It’s truly a family. —Christine S.
I work in a supportive environment. You have to find the right team and the right admin to work with. You have to be in a place where your admin trusts you as a teacher, trusts your decisions, and trusts what you tell them you need to be successful. —Elizabeth M.
I love my colleagues, and I figure this too shall pass. I love working with the students and am given a fair amount of autonomy to teach to my strengths. —Kalli W.
And of course, the kids
My students. I look at each of them and think about their amazing qualities. I’ve yet to have one that I couldn’t find something amazing. I remember THEY are my WHY. —Mary M.
The ones that you do reach and the ones that come back to visit. The last person I hugged before the pandemic hit was a student that came to visit me. That’s what wakes me up and keeps me by my computer for 8 hours a day. It will never be easy but in the end, if I made a difference in at least one person’s life…it was worth it. —Elyssa S.
I try to hold on to the little moments. The sparks. The moments when your student’s eyes suddenly come alive, and they GET IT. Or, even if they don’t, quite yet, they discover that they are actually passionately curious about something. The moments when they realize, much to their absolute shock, that there is always something new and wondrous to learn, and that the world is filled with so much richness and mystery that it will take a lifetime to barely scratch the surface of all the complexity and wild beauty it holds. —Kari G.
The lightbulb moments do it for me! When I see a kid finally get it! —Amanda W.
My students. I truly believe a relationship with them comes first. Everything else follows. —Bobbi E.
These kids. I just love them. They make me laugh every day. —Vanessa W.
The students… the ones I reach, the ones I don’t reach. I love the ones who learn to challenge themselves. The ones who come back years later to tell me about the impact something I said had on them and the ones I never hear from again. I love them all. —A.Z.
They are not just my students; they’re my children. They keep me going on a bad day and keep me smiling on any day. —Elaine W.
What keeps your love of teaching alive? Please share in the comments below.
Plus, check out 15 of Our Favorite Poems About Teaching
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