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Jul 19

Teaching Tip: It Can’t be About the Perks

 Teaching Tip: It Can’t be About the Perks

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If you truly want to be a more powerful teacher to your students, then it can’t be about the job security, vacation days, or any other “perk” of being a teacher.  There has to be a strong urge somewhere inside of you that pushes you to make the world a better place one student at a time in order to become an inspirational teacher.

When I first got into teaching I kept thinking about ‘this many more days until this break or that break’ and I still count down the days, but that is not why I show up every day to school.  Now it is about those precious moments when the light bulb finally turns on for a student.  Those classroom periods when we are discussing some historical event and they connect it to something that is going on in the world today, those moments when a student internalizes the information and it finally means something to them, that is why I love what I do.

Teaching has never been about the money for me, because going in I knew the state where I would be teaching is on the bottom end of the pay scale.  If I cared more about the money I would move one state away, coach the same sports I am coaching now, and make about 15,000 dollars more.  If it was about the money I would try to get myself into working for one of the big software or publishing companies that come out with the next “big” teaching thing that will finally get the students to learn.  Failing schools now get hundreds of thousands of dollars to turn themselves around which they go out and spend on professionals that come in for thousands a dollars a day to teach teachers how to teach.  I always felt so appreciated when they would pay tens of thousands of dollars to a company to help us raise test scores when myself and other teachers at my school who have actually gotten high test scores with the students in our own building were never asked to show how we did it.  Getting my students to pass the test was always a matter of pride for me not a matter of maybe I can turn this into a job with some company.

There are lots of “perks” to being a teacher though.  I enjoy them while they are still available, I say that because with more cities declaring bankruptcy I for one am not counting on my pension.  I love to travel and see new things so having breaks throughout the year provides that. So, the perks are nice, but that is not why I teach.  In order for you to be the best teacher you can be you must look past the perks and find out why you really want to teach.  If it is just to get to the next level, have a more secure job because of a union, to work for the government, or enjoy the breaks please get out because you end up making the rest of us teachers look bad.

To read my other teaching tips click here

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