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Why I Teach

Today I'm sharing a list of reasons why I teach. 

When I was in fourth grade I was in a car accident with my Mom and two brothers.  I broke my leg and was in the hospital for about 6 weeks or so and then at home even longer.  During my time at the hospital I had a tutor.  She was a delightful older lady that asked me questions like no other teachers had asked.  She challenged me to think about things in a new way.  She asked questions that I had NO answers to and I loved it!  I had always been a good student and loved to play school with a classroom full of imaginary students.  I even took home extra worksheets and had a chalkboard put up in my room!  I really enjoyed this one on one time.

Something changed after I had that tutor.  When I got home, my regular fourth grade teacher, Mrs.Fulton, came to my house 2 nights a week to continue my education. I loved this time.  I got to work ahead at my own pace, wrote sentences that she used as class examples and could do all the extra stuff I wanted without shame.  This was great!  I wanted to teach so that other people could be this excited about learning. 

Later in high school, I got my first "big break".   For two years in high school I got to teach music!  One year it was beginning band and the next year it was 2 months of high school choir while my teacher was on maternity leave.  I was in HEAVEN!

When my choir teacher returned she was baffled that we had learned a folk song in 3 part harmony.  It was simple, but we could do it.   It was something that she hadn't been able to make happen with this group.  She said "How did you get them to do that?"  Then I knew.  I knew for sure that day.  I knew I could do it.  I could be a teacher!

Now, with 20 years under my belt, I've realized that I have always been and probably will always be a teacher.  It may be teaching old folks to use their cell phones or little ones to tie their shoes or whatever.  I AM a teacher. 

So, why do it?
This is me at my desk.  It looks crazy doesn't it?  Elsa, noodle ponies, flowers, files, a big fan, a can of unsharpened pencils, Pinterest projects galore....  yeah, it is crazy.  And I love it.

1.  I am a teacher because I love a before and after picture.  At the end of the first year of school, each kindergartener has transformed from a shy, uncertain preschooler into a confident and successful student.  The go from just knowing their letters to becoming readers.  They go from counting to calculating.  Their growth is amazing!  As a music teacher I get to see this with every grade level, every year!  I love to see those light bulb moments.  I love to facilitate an environment that pushes kids to be brave, to be thinkers, to be amazing.  I love to see each and every one of their before and after pictures.

2.  I am a teacher because I care.  No, don't start playing the violins and no one call Hallmark.  Well...I mean...if you want, you can.  :-)  I care about my students.  I care that they get the very best music education that they can.  I care that they find their voice and become successful.

3.  I teach because I like kids.  Seriously.  I think 5 year olds and I have the same sense of humor.  People falling down?  Kinda funny.  Animals dressed as people?  Funny!  Talking vegetables? HILARIOUS!

4.  I teach because I love that kids embrace my crazy ideas with enthusiasm and an open mind.  Ride noodle ponies to learn form?  YEEHAW!  Eat Fruit Loops to learn notation?  YUM!  Sing with such sensitivity and emotion that our mothers burst into tears to show that we connect with the world around us?  Absolutely.  And sometimes we'll even do it dressed as reindeers or holding candles.

5.  I teach because I'm good at it.  LOL...that sounds a little conceited.  What I mean is that I have a combination of skills, talents and interests that make teaching less like a job and more like a lifestyle.  I could not be a construction worker.  I could not be a nurse.  I could not be an accountant.  Just not me.  However, teaching fits me like a glove.

6.  I teach because I want to live forever.  Okay, maybe not physically, but have you ever consider the impact a teacher makes on each student in her classroom?  What I teach this student may be passed on to their children and grandchildren and through countless generations.  A part of me may live on forever in a skill I teacher, a talent I foster or manner in which I connect with another little human.  That is awesome.

7.  I teach because I want to find joy in my life every single day.  The best way to find joy is to spread joy.  Welcome to my classroom.  We experience joy every day.

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