Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why I chose education...

Since I had to write this "letter of vision" for my application to enter a program that will further my education, I decided to share it with you here.

Education today is truly one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, fields which anyone can enter. To call it a career choice would be a misnomer since it is not really a choice, but a calling. In my years of teaching I have had many people come through my classroom to observe and decide if this was truly the career they wanted to pursue, and for a few, I knew right away it was not the place for them. Perhaps they did not know what they wanted to "be," or they simply were looking for what they thought would be an easy paycheck. I tell all those who come to me, if you can do anything else and be happy - make that decision now. Change your major while it is still easy to do. If, however, teaching is a part of who you are and you know that you will not find true satisfaction anywhere else, then join us in the world of education.

Dealing with the variety of personalities and issues that a teacher sees each day can be overwhelming. Trying to make wise decisions, keep the pace, and yet have compassion is a juggling act that at times finds each of us dropping a ball or two. The key is to realize we are human and learn from these "drops" so that the next time we can do a little better.

As a teacher, I believe that my job is not so much teaching my students WHAT to think as it is teaching them TO think. I challenge them daily to do a little more than they did the day before, and I challenge them to become the person they were meant to be. To paraphrase a quote I once heard, I am not there to make sure my students have comfort as much as I am there to help them develop character - that means they may be uncomfortable at times.

I know that those in my class will learn how to use commas and complex sentences, but I hope that what they REMEMBER is that they can confront any challenge and succeed IF they give it their all. Success isn't a grade on a paper, it's a process that reveals their strength and ability to grow. I am helping to prepare them for life, and in life it is rare that we get to see our success in the form of a letter grade on a piece of paper. How often do I hear, "Is this for a grade?" I respond, "Life is for a grade."

I am not perfect by any means. I stumble and fall and try to learn from my mistakes. Perhaps, even in that, I am a teacher. Each of us is called to maturity and that is a process - one which can be difficult at times, especially when those around you are going through the same process, yet at different stages. If we were able to deal with life in a bubble, it might be easier, but it certainly wouldn't be nearly as rewarding or fun. In the midst of the maturing process, it is important to find those times of laughter and joy.

Education today is a calling, a challenging one at that. Many times I have "quit" at the end of the day, certain I could not continue in this calling. Dealing with irate parents, new "laws and mandates" and of course, students can be overwhelming at times. Fortunately for me, each morning brings new hope that I can indeed face the challenges of the day, and I "un-quit" again. I try to remember that those I am working with are facing challenges as well, some even more difficult than my own.

Many people complain about the job that educators do; however, most would not even attempt to spend a week in our shoes. Our rewards do not come in the way of a large paycheck or sometimes even in words of praise. Like the soldier, we sometimes feel we are on the front lines of a battle, yet we are willing to face the fire for we know we are fighting for those in our care. We are fighting for the children and for the future.

Why would anyone in their right mind choose this profession? That is an easy question to answer...we did not choose, we answered the call.

Jude 1

 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

   To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

 2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Romans 8:28-30

New International Version (NIV)

 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Eph. 4:11 Standard Version (©2008)

And it is he who gifted some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, and still others to be pastors and teachers,

1 comment:

Ross Jones said...

Bravo!!! Since my wife is a teacher, I can relate to this! Being one of the toughest years she has had as a teacher...due to more "red tape", this post will brighten her day! Thanks!