But we have a hard job. We have to work with every individual student. We spend hours and hours shaping our lessons in order to shape our students. Then we spend even more hours assessing how well we're shaping our students. It's called grading. If you've never tried it, you can't possibly understand how hard it is.
I get offered new classes every semester from the two schools I work at. Sometimes I get offered two classes. Sometimes three. Sometimes only one. And I am paid per class per semester, which means the fewer classes I get, the less money I make.
|My grading pile.|
I always ask my students on the first day of class if they hate English and usually a full 90% of my new students tell me they hate it. No one likes writing papers, no one likes reading, no one enjoys discussion or analysis.
So it's my job to make them enjoy it. It's why we do things like video games, Veggie Tales, Frozen, and Top Gear in class. English doesn't have to be boring, but schools often make it as such. I have to change that attitude in my students.
Teaching is extremely rewarding. It is, in my mind, the most rewarding job possible. Yes, if you're a doctor you save lives, and if you're a lawyer you can help people fight injustice, but you don't SHAPE people. Not the same way anyways.
Let me give you an example.
I teach at a community college. If you've ever been to a community college, you know that the students there are often students that couldn't get into university or they've been forced to go to school by their folks, or they just don't have confidence to go to a four year. Many of these people drop out and never get back in school. They tell themselves they can't do it and it becomes a self fulling prophesy. It's very sad.
My job is to encourage these students.
|Image via http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/2014-2015-encouragement-thread.1081076/|
But my main job is to tell them that YES they CAN get through school and they CAN do something wonderful with their lives. That's my JOB.
And oftentimes they collapse under the pressure.
When I was in school, we took a minimum of 12 units a semester and rarely went over it. Students these days take 16 to 20 units a semester. That's five or six difficult college classes all at once.
But these are still kids. Someone once told me that the only difference between a high school senior and a college freshmen is a summer at the beach. But these kids are expected to be adults. They aren't given a break. And unlike in high school where teachers will often encourage and push their students to succeed, college teachers expect students to already be responsible. Students are independent, but they haven't always been taught independence.
My job is to teach that. I am not just a teacher, I am also a counselor. When something goes wrong in my student's lives, NOTHING is more important than helping them. When I have a student feeling discouraged, NOTHING is more important than encouraging them.
My students are my LIFE. Because I know I may be the only person that ever actually cares for them or their futures. This happens more times than I like to admit, but often times it's true.
And if I can say I've changed at least one person in my career, then I've done my job. Because being a teacher isn't about the money or the difficult grading, or the simple FACTS I teach my students. It's about shaping and changing the next generation to be ready to tackle anything that life throws at them.
In other words, I became a teacher to change the WORLD.
And that has made all the difference.