Gratitude is infectious. And when you’re grateful for what you do, you can feel more connected to your profession explains math teacher Stephanie Yi (@mathwithmsyi).
In honor of the spirit of the holiday season, I wanted to share why life is good as a teacher. I love teaching, but If you’ve been struggling like me, I hope this will spark warm and fuzzy reasons for why you teach!
For a while, I convinced myself that a desk job would be amazing. I imagined being getting comfy in front of a computer, kicking off my shoes, and sitting cross-legged in my seat with my favorite playlist. I’d start my day by opening up all my favorite snacks and snapping open a chilled can of seltzer before tackling my to-do list.
Having worked a desk job earlier this year, I’m so glad to be back in the classroom. A desk job can be lonely, you can quickly lose sight of the purpose, and your daily step count lacks steps. I love that teaching doesn’t happen in isolation. In all the schools I’ve been in, I’ve always had coworkers who will listen to my struggles and can relate to my experiences. I love that I can joke around with my coworkers while supporting our students the best we can. I also love that teaching allows me to stay active. I’m always on my feet while teaching and am frequently circulating around my room to check in with students. The fast pace of the classroom allows me to stay engaged and focused easily, and being around my students daily means that I’m surrounded by the reasons why I choose to teach.
As a student, I was never the strongest in math. I would even say that I was *gasp* bad at math. But as a math teacher now, I can relate to my students who struggle with math. And as a result, I work hard to make their learning more concrete by pushing the WHY.
I love watching students win in my classroom. A win may look like a student struggling at the beginning of class and then defending their solution by the end, or even a student who works hard all year to understand integer operations before finally mastering that skill. The magic of witnessing students’ AHA moments is difficult to put into words.
I am very aware of how privileged I am to get to spend so much time with each student and being an integral part of their lives. Not only do I get to watch them grow during the year academically but also as human beings.
My annual end-of-year videos ALWAYS leave me bawling; it is both surreal and humbling to be reminded of how much growth happens in a single year. This year, I returned to my school in Boston after a year away, and my former 7th graders are currently freshmen in high school. I was shocked to see that in one year, my 7th graders have turned into (almost) full-grown adults! It reminds me that even though I am only with my students for a year, the impact is forever. I get to help shape and launch the newest adults into our world, and I will always be thankful for this opportunity.