by Kay Bisaillon, Just A Teacher
I have a question for you…”Why do you do what you do?”
Why are you reading this blog right now? For many of you, it’s summertime and you are “off the clock” and could be relaxing and resting. For others, in parts of the world, I bet you are on a free period, or inhaling lunch over a keyboard, or perhaps you’re at home relaxing from your day.
Yet, here you sit reading this blog post to continue your professional journey, on personal time.
I am awed by the amazing educators in my PLN. You spend your own hard-earned money to equip your classrooms and to fund your travels for more professional development opportunities. You spend weekends and evenings participating in Twitter chats, workshops, Edcamps, conferences and you read many blogs and articles. You spend the other “free hours” organizing these exact same things; Twitter chats, workshops, Edcamps and writing blogs and articles.
This is all in your “spare time,” mind you.
Other educators look at you and say, “Where do you find the time?” sometimes with admiration and sometimes…well, with something the opposite of admiration.
I know why I do it. I do it for THAT student. I know him. (For this blog, this student is a boy, though it can be any student.) He is so smart. He is passionate about learning and is eager to learn more about what is important to him. He is so willing to try when he is young. He is so willing to learn. Then, something happens. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens. No one knows when it happened, but it did. (Some of it is likely hormones.)
Yet, over time he dulls on school completely. He loses interest. He believes the teacher who tells him he isn’t a good writer. He begins to believe his voice doesn’t matter. He believes that learning in school doesn’t have anything to do with him anymore. He’s smart. He’s not motivated by anything happening in the traditional classroom. He doesn’t see the value in school anymore. It doesn’t relate to his life anymore. He is lost.
I spend my money to attend conferences and work during those precious “off-hours” to help him realize he still has so much to share with his classmates and his teachers. His voice does matter. I want him to see that he can create an app that feeds people who are hungry. I want him to realize his potential. I want him to know that as a 14-year old he can create, market and sell his vision. I want him to get up out of his seat and dance and laugh and remove his indifference and realize later, he learned something.
I want him to want to come to school every day. I want him to feel comfortable to wiggle in his seat if he needs to wiggle and share his thoughts, even if it means being so passionate about his response he forgets to raise his hand. I want him to not blankly sit at his desk, but to stand in the back of the room if he must. I want him to feel he matters.
Of course, I don’t want this message to only pertain to him. I want this message to be heard by as many students as possible. This is my job and so much more.
All of you reading this blog post, I thank you for your passion and your energy, your time and your money. I see you doing the same thing. I thank you and so does that student who comes to school because of you.
Image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad; Why Do You Teach?