- - - - -
- - -
Current topic:
We'd love to include your perspective! Send submissions on any topic to fourperspectivesblog at gmail.com.

Next topic:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Teaching?

Pin It
“Mr. Z?”

I turned to my student who stood before me. “What’s up?” I asked, putting aside the papers I’d been correcting.

“Did you always want to be a teacher?”

I sat back in my chair. “Why do you want to know this?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve just always wondered.”

I took a deep breath. Now, just how to answer this? Should I be honest? It would probably be much more fun to tell him that I’d considered becoming a mortician or perhaps a professional food taster.

I went with honesty.

“No, I could get another job if I had wanted to. In fact, wanted to be an author…or maybe a movie director.”

“Really? Can teachers do that?”

“Yep, it’s perfectly legal.”

My student walked away, shaking his head saying something like, “Whoa…I didn’t know that.”

It was this small conversation which brings me to today’s blog…just why did I choose teaching out of all of the professions I could have for my life? I’ve thought about that question quite a bit over the years to tell you the truth. I believe it stems back about forty or fifty years ago when I was a missionary. I had been sent to Missouri with the idea that I would return to Washington after two years and become a successful author, touring around the United States to promote my new books and to do signings. Of course, there’d be the world premieres of movies my books had been adapted into…in fact, I had already completed over half of a screenplay for “Take the Long Way Home.”

Yes, I was going to be famous.

While living in Poplar Bluff (Pop-lar bluff…not Pop-U-lar Bluff) one of my friends and I started volunteering at Sacred Heart Catholic School. My friend and I helped out in many different classrooms from 1-6th grades, however, it was here that I became acquainted with Ruth Trotter, first grade teacher extraordinaire.
I wish there were words to express how I felt in the presence of this woman. She was nothing short of amazing. 

I looked forward to working each week with the kids at SH, but none more than the 1stgraders of Mrs. Trotter’s classroom. On every visit I’d be tutoring kids on Math facts, fluency, or reading aloud to them. It was a high point of each week for me, and the more time I spent in Mrs. Trotter’s presence, the more I began to realize that I loved teaching.

When I was moved to another area (after 9 months) I couldn’t foget the experiences I’d had in working with students and how much fun it was. When I came home another 9 months later, I enrolled in college to finish my general education classes. When thinking of career paths which I might follow, only one stood out.


People have often asked me why I decided to become a teacher. I’d often joke that it was for the big money to be made, and all of the single female teachers. It really isn’t though. It’s for the students I get to see grow on a daily basis. Some of these kids take a little bit longer than others, but I see nearly all of them grow and change. They come into my classroom as little kids, and leave as middle-schoolers.

I will forever be thankful to the teachers I’ve had in my life which made a positive impact on me.…Otamay Hushing, Robin Flickinger, Sherri Frizzell, Ed Mooney, and most importantly, Ruth Trotter. As I look back on old photos of my first days as a teacher, I think of these kids who are now much older than they were as 3rd or 4th graders. I think of these students, who one day, when somebody asks them, “Who was your favorite teacher?” Will respond…

“Mr. Z.”

Thanks, Mrs. Trotter.
My friends, Jan and Hazen.
One of my "first" teaching experiences.
Father Mike McDivitt, Hazen, and I.

Sacred Heart Catholic School.


Just SO said...

I'm glad that you became a teacher. I can tell how much you love it and the kids that you teach. It's nice to know that there are teachers out there like you.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

U found the niche that's most comfortable... Funny how people we meet shape our lives isn't it? They're not kidding when they say its the time, place, moment u were feeling, etc... all add something into that decision we make.

Rachel said...

Fun mission photos. I have to laugh. You look like you could be Mr. M's bigger brother in some of these photos. You really are his uncle!!! And you didn't know it!

We. In this house. Are very grateful that you chose to teach as you are very much helping write and choreograph the scripts that will become these children's lives.

Richard & Natalie said...

I ditto Rachel's last paragraph.

And don't you know you did become famous? Everyone knows & loves the infamous Mr. Z.

Bits-n-Pieces said...

funny how you just know...
I'd planned on being a guidance counselor....doing my requisite time in the classroom while working on my master's...then doing that.
Then I discovered kindergarten..my student teaching experience.... and I just knew it was where I belonged. 21 years later...I've never left K&1st grades!

Those who can't, get a desk job.
those who can...teach!

Annette said...

You have a gift for teaching and despite its headaches, seem to still love it. You are an amazing teacher. May you always love what you do!

Anaise said...

This post touched a chord in my heart, because I was going to be a doctor. I remember realizing that teaching flowed in my blood and I could never be totally happy unless I was teaching.

I cried when I told my parents; they laughed and said, "Good for you!"

I homeschool now--babies, preschool, . . . right on up to 5th grade at the moment. Next year I get to expand my horizons to 6th grade.

It is a dream of a life.

Sarah said...

One of my very good friends (her name is Sarah too, awesome!) is an 8th grade teacher and I am just in AWE of her.

I think it just "clicks" with some people, like rocket science clicks with others.

I am very grateful for all two of the great teachers in my life - they even inspired me to be a better mother!

Plus, it's awesome that you were able to choose to do for a living something that you actually LOVE. It's kind of like a happy ending all the time (even though I know it's still a TON of hard work).

Teachinfourth said...

Thanks for the comments, guys...er...gals. Teaching is something that I love. Most days I wake up and it isn't, "Ugh, I have to go to work today." It's, "I get to go to work today."

I couldn't see myself doing anything else...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...