Why I Love My Job

Tuesday, I went and met with a group of student teachers up at Vassar. I hoped to share with them some of the many reasons that makes what we do the greatest job in the world, though part of me fears that a lot of what I said, particularly about how hard it is to find a teaching job these days, might have overshadowed what makes this job great. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a list, in no particular order, that highlights just some of the reasons I cannot possibly imagine doing anything else:

  • Students come to me excited every morning to ask me if I “saw that on the news last night.”
  • I work in an environment where collaboration with my co-workers is always valued more than competition with them.
  • Each year, I get to meet and deeply know 100+ new people.
  • I didn’t have to work my way up the ladder to do the work I want to do; I’ve been doing that work since day 1.
  • Teaching is so intellectually demanding and challenging that it always provides new experiences to keep me interested.
  • I get to work with adolescents at the moment when they are defining who they want to be for the rest of their lives, and to help them think about that.
  • I get to see Facebook status updates from alumni that thank me for introducing her to Baudrillard so she was the only person who understood it in her class.
  • I once got a letter from the worst behaved student I ever had on the day of his graduation thanking me for showing that I cared about him by not letting him get away with the behavior others ignored because they got tired of dealing with him.
  • I often find out that a random remark I said off the cuff really stayed with a student.
  • I have a job that makes me want to continue to improve constantly.
  • I get to be humbled over, over, and over again.
  • There are thousands of other people with the same commitment and thoughtfulness that I have working on the same issues.
  • I get to help students understand the meaning of democracy.
  • I get to help students learn to better express their selves.
  • I get to make students complain regularly that their heads hurt because they’ve never used their brain in the way I’m asking them to.
  • The letters I occasionally get from other teachers letting me know that my writing has helped or inspired them in some way.
  • The letters or comments I get to write thanking other teachers for helping or inspiring me in some way.
  • Constantly learning about new ways to be better at what I do.
  • Being challenged by my students to learn new things and consider different viewpoints.
  • I get to take students to Ellis Island, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and on college trips around the Northeast.
  • I can honestly say I love what I do and would not want to do anything else.

3 thoughts on “Why I Love My Job

  1. In the sixteenth bullet point you have a typo. I believe you meant “let me know…”. I’m just messing with you. This post convinces me that you really want to be a teacher, which is awesome because some teachers look like they can’t wait to retire.


  2. I just heard a quote that I feel applies to the way you run our class; Walter Lippmen said “Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much.” I’m sure you can see why this makes me think of you.


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