My Saturday mornings sure aren’t what they used to be. Ever since I went viral last year and ended up on Ellen, my life as a teacher has looked a bit different. Most mornings, I wake up, roll out of bed, and start sorting through my inbox, which is flooded with speaking inquiries and other requests.
One recent Saturday, I was caught off guard by a snarky comment I saw on a video:
Did you know he quit teaching to travel around the country to “inspire” other teachers?
SKURRRRRR. Pump the breaks. First, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Second … WHAT!? I am now, and always have been, a teacher. And I have no plans on leaving the profession anytime soon.
I realize that I probably need to cut this woman at least a little bit of slack. After all, leaving the profession when “bigger and better” opportunities present themselves isn’t all that uncommon in the education world. But that person is not me. Let me tell you why I won’t quit teaching.
Change needs to happen.
As I sit here and write this, I can’t help but realize that we live in a world that is filled with turmoil and hardship. Sure, there are a lot of positive things happening right now. However, it seems like every time I turn on the TV, there’s another horrific, human-caused event that has happened in our world.
Human-caused. Think about that phrase for a minute—human-caused. So I think, what if the events that were happening were positive? And what if those were human-caused, too?
You know who is responsible for the human-caused events of the future? The kids who sit in front of us for seven hours a day, Monday through Friday. Those kids are our students, those kids are the future, and those kids … those kids deserve better.
As teachers, we have a responsibility to make sure that we are creating a world where every child can be happy and live peacefully. Why? Because those children are the adults of tomorrow who will continue the tradition of excellence.
Education isn’t meeting the standards that it needs to.
More than 65 percent of the jobs that today’s kindergarteners will have currently do not exist. How do we educate our kids to be successful in those positions if we don’t even know what they are yet?
I’ll tell you how: We teach as though it’s 2030 despite the fact that we’re living in 2018. Honestly, I can’t walk away from the classroom knowing that kids are continuously taught in rigid, traditional, outdated methods that are producing stagnant results.
The state of education needs to change. I’m advocating for that change. Why? Because our kids deserve to eat well, and what’s currently being served is not fulfilling their appetites.
Kids need us.
You know what I can control? What happens in my classroom. And what a challenge that is. What I can’t control is what happens to my students before they get there.
Baggage. Students have a lot of baggage. This baggage needs to be handled with the same care we give a delicate newborn baby. It alarms me how many educators realize that students have baggage but have no idea how to deal with it. I don’t fault them. In fact, I don’t place blame on anyone. Teaching is about 95 percent things they can’t teach you in your university classes. Still, it’s important to learn those things. It’s important that teachers remember that students are humans and not numbers, plot points, or test scores.
We’re onto something great. I can sense the state of education being disrupted for the better. But, we’re not quite there yet. And until we are, I’m not going anywhere.
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Plus, don’t miss “Dear Friend About to Leave Teaching…”