- Boundary Markers: An Alternative to Classroom Management - March 10, 2016
- International Mother Language Day-February 21st - February 25, 2016
- "Dear Future Me..."A Great Reflection Assignment for Students - February 1, 2016
- Thank You In Advance: The Power of Expectation - January 15, 2016
- Under the Guise of Inclusion - November 20, 2015
- Therapy Dogs and Schools - October 15, 2015
- SUPERPOWER Schools - October 13, 2015
- When Life Happens While You Teach - September 22, 2015
- "I'm Her Favorite Student!" - August 31, 2015
- Good Writing vs. Great Writing: Leading the Way - April 27, 2015
Last week I received a CNN e-mail that stated that ten people were missing and presumed dead due to a major avalanche that occurred on Mt. Everest. My first thought was, "Why do people climb that mountain??!" I don't get it! Why would people put their life in danger to climb a mountain? Do they do it for pride; for accomplishment? Over 240 people have died on that mountain over the last many decades and yet people still climb it, seeking to make it to the top, no matter how many attempts it takes. Do you often feel like that as a teacher? Do you often wonder why you keep climbing that mountain while trying to help a child; why you keep trying to surmount the ever growing mountain of teacher expectations and paperwork while you face a daily barrage of criticism from parents, teachers and administration? Do you ever wonder why you never give up, even at times when you desperately want to? Do we do it for pride; for accomplishment? Why do we face peril every day, yet still seek to climb that teacher mountain? Much like the people that climb Mt. Everest, you may not know exactly why you do it, you just know that you are driven to do it, but perhaps discovering the reason for climbing your mountain is the best place to start.
Driven to Face your Fears?
One theory of why people climb Mt. Everest is that they somehow have some deep-hidden fears that they want to overcome...perhaps we teach for the same reasons...to overcome our fears. When I started volunteering in my children's elementary school, I felt a sense of peace and energy that I had never experienced before. This seemed like a paradox to me because I had spent my whole life trying to avoid school, and now I suddenly found myself drawn to the place. Why? Perhaps this was my mountain and I was conquering it. It felt good to be in the elementary building starting from scratch, learning things that I had never been able to comprehend when I was that age due to my severe learning disabilities. It also felt good to be able to help students, that much like myself, were struggling in school. It was a mountain that I began to climb and somehow I could not stop climbing it. I was indeed facing my fears.
Born Risk Taker?
Another theory about why people climb Mount Everest is because they are adrenaline junkies; they just like to take risks and attempt to beat the odds...perhaps teachers teach for the same reason? Let's face it, even though our schedules are routine, nothing else about our jobs are; each day we face the unknown. We don't sit in a cubical and make sales calls all day. You never know what your day will hold...and maybe that's what we like about it. When I was in high school, I remember taking one of those tests to see what job that you would best fit into. I fell into "zookeeper" and "interior decorator". I guess they really had me pegged because if you think about it, teaching is probably a very good combination of the two! But, seriously, I wish that someone would've pointed out to me that sitting behind a desk all day, was NOT for me. THAT was the real lesson I should've walked away with. I spent way too many years of my adult life trying to be what I was not, someone that sits behind a desk. Teaching is a thrill, for better or for worse, and I like it! Adrenaline junkie? Count me in!
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"] Teaching is a thrill, for better or for worse, and I like it! Click To Tweet
Super Exclusive Club?
Another theory about frequenting mountain thrill seekers is that they do it because they feel that it would put them into some sort of super-exclusive club... do we feel like we teach for that reason? I cannot fathom thinking that I feel pride in being a teacher because it makes me feel like I'm better than everyone else. For some, teaching can be an arrogant rite of passage to gaining respect in the community... "I teach, therefore I am". While most of us hold this precious position with the utmost reverence, others take it as a way to slap someone across the face..."I'm a teacher, I know more than you". While I hope that this is not the case for you, I also hope that you do feel a sense of pride that you are a teacher, because what you do matters. I think I actually do feel like I'm in a special club. There, I said it. Guilty.
To Prove Your Worthiness?
Perhaps one reason people climb Mt. Everest is to feel like they have a sense of worthiness, is that also why we teach? Let's face it, who amongst us is not looking for our purpose in life? I know I am, and I think perhaps that I've found part of that purpose in my life as a teacher. Even though we often do not feel understood or appreciated, I know that we also get lots of affirmation from people by way of notes, gifts at Christmas time, and such. I have a full collection of gifts that some of my beloved students have bestowed upon me. Just this week, a student made me a cross out of white pearl beads that he had strung together. It was so thoughtful. My very favorite gift was the book of Robert Frost poems that one of my 8th graders gave me last year (not only is Robert Frost one of my favorite poets, but the book was a cherished gift given to her by her grandfather, yet she insisted that I have it). Do I climb my mountain for a sense of worthiness? Yes, yes I do.
One final theory as to why people choose to climb steep, treacherous mountains is because they are on some sort of spiritual journey...is that perhaps why we teach? I don't mean to step on anyone's personal spiritual beliefs, but my faith is everything to me. My life IS a spiritual journey and teaching is a part of that journey. I know God called me into this profession. In fact, I can still picture myself about fifteen years ago sitting in that second pew in that stone church on Main Street when God said to my heart, "You are going to be a teacher." I remember looking around like, Did anyone else hear that? You see, it took a word from God for me to believe that I actually would be a teacher because remember, I had always been a miserable failure at school. I did not go to college after graduation for that very reason. When I did begin attending college classes (as an old lady in my late 30's) I faced many hardships and challenges along the way. Every time I doubted that I could actually graduate and get my degree, I would think back to that moment in the second-row pew and God's words. Do I teach because I'm on a spiritual journey? You bet! I love going wherever God takes me...it's never a dull moment, that's for sure!People climb mountains for various types of reasons and we all teach for different reasons. Click To Tweet
Finding the reasons as to why you risk life and limb each day to do what you love, is the beginning of understanding yourself, your mission for your students and your classroom. It may be a mountain that you are tired of climbing. Maybe it's time to get off of your mountain. Maybe you are just beginning to make the ascent. Maybe you've already reached the top. Whatever the reason, whatever the season, do what you love and discover why you want to do it!