We hear so many stories about teachers leaving education. They’re tired. They’re fed up with the long days, little pay, and politics. And they’re just burned out.
Sometimes the frustrated, annoyed, angry, and sad voices are a lot louder than those that are happy and content. But the latter are so incredibly important, especially at this time of year and for teachers who might need some words of encouragement.
So here are those words. We asked teachers “Why do you stay?” and we got some amazing responses. Take a look. Be inspired. Use these to help you remember all the reasons to teach.
1. Lightbulb Moments
“I’m staying because I want to protect my children as best as I can from the mess that is being made of education right now. If I can have happy, confident children who are learning, then I feel like I’m doing my job. I still get those butterflies when a child has a lightbulb moment.” – Sarah R.
2. Encouraging a Love of Math
“Because not a single one of my students leaves my class thinking they hate math. Nothing can replace the feeling of having kids excited to come to math class. I spent a lot of years in corporate America where I made a paycheck … now I make a difference.” –Stacey M.
3. Watching Them Grow
“I stay for my kids. I’ve been in the same district for 18 years. It’s wonderful that every day I get to see these kids growing up and going out into the world to make their mark. That’s what gets me out of the door every morning.” – Julie S.
4. We’re Needed
“Because the profession needs me to stay. If we all gave up, who would be here to make sure the profession, and therefore the kids, get everything they need to successfully embark on our educational journey?” – Bille T.
5. For the Kids
“It’s simple. You stay for the kids. No matter if you have a crappy admin, no support from home or the community … you always stay for the kids.” – Nicole S.
6. The Start Fresh
“It’s the only job in the world where you can remake yourself each new school year. What a good feeling knowing I can be whoever I want to be come July.” – Tammy H.
7. The Wow Moments
“Because just when you think it couldn’t get worse, a student tells you that you’re the reason they wake up and come to school every day.” – Ashly M.
8. A Calling
“I was born to teach. I knew it as a 5-year-old who lined up stuffed animals and dolls.” – Vickie B.
9. The Best Kind of Office
“I have worked in shops, factories, and offices, and this is what I prefer. Even if it comes with long hours, annoying times, and scrutiny from outsiders.” – Lisa W.
10. Mutual Benefits
“I need my kids as much as they need me some days. Someone has to give them a chance, and I’m grateful every day that I get to be that person.” – Desiree J.
11. To Believe
“I didn’t have a lot of teachers who believe in me. I hated school. Now I look at those kids who remind me of myself at that age and I push them to be their best. I let them know that they WILL do great things, and I believe in them with all of my heart.” – Ember H.
12. Constant Need
“Public education has changed so dramatically lately, but the kids haven’t changed. True, they might be a bit more of this or that, but they haven’t stopped being completely deserving of someone who helps them love learning and strengthens their confidence.” – Alyssa V.
13. The Dancing
“One student sensed I was not feeling it today and, as we were switching classes, he came up and said, ‘Hey! Looks like you need to dance it out.’ And then he just started dancing. So we danced in the hall and it made my day. How can you stay in a funk with that? In what other job would that happen?” – Missy M.
14. The Smiles
“No matter how tough it gets, there’s always going to be a moment that makes you smile. No two days are the same in this job. Find the things that make you smile, and focus on those.” – Vicki C.
15. Part of the DNA
“For those of us who are members of The Noblest Profession, there is no other option. We are driven to teach. It is in our DNA. When I’m in front of a class explaining and engaging, I’m the best me.” – Jim S.
I was at an inner city school teaching Algebra 1 and 2 when my mom passed away. I took off a week and, when I returned, one of my female students met me in the hall, put her arm around me and said, “I hope you’re OK; I took care of everything while your were gone.” Truth is — we need them as much as they need us.