The first item on the Scholastic Primary Sources Teacher Survey states that 98% of teachers feel that teaching is more than just a profession–it is a calling. I must agree with this statement. To be a teacher requires more than just showing up for a 9 to 5 office job. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those office jobs!) But teachers must be dedicated to their calling and passion because it requires so much of ourselves.
Teaching requires our time. We spend 8:00-3:00 in the classroom with our students. But we also spend mornings before school in meetings, lesson preparation, and grading time. We spend time after school on those some tasks, plus supervision of clubs, activities, and sports. We spend nights, weekends, and summer planning lessons, writing curriculum, grading papers, and attending professional development. All this time outside of the 8:00-3:00 is UNPAID time. We spend these hours to make our classrooms better places for our students to learn and grow.
Teaching requires our hearts. We invest a lot of time in our “kids” as most teachers call their students. We not only teach our students the required content, but we also prepare them for life. We help them navigate life’s problems and listen to their troubles and worries. We rejoice when they get accepted to the high schools and colleges of their choice. We grieve with them over their failures. We worry about our kids who traverse tough neighborhoods to get to school or who go hungry over the weekends.
Teaching is not just a job. It is a way of life. Teaching is a calling to serve our nation’s youth. The few who answer that call are the privileged ones who get to serve our students.