Posted by: Magistra | May 7, 2006

My Reasons for Becoming a Teacher

1. I like the academic world. I like the questions that get asked, and I really like the fights. Generally, the fights are about issues that I think matter. I’m not so naive or so ignorant of the teaching-side of academia that I don’t realize that conflict can be petty, but I’ve found that the structure and the goals of the education world help keep the fighting on point. Conflict happens everywhere, and I want to fight about things that matter to me.

2. I’ve got a professor who likes to say that June, July and August are not reasons to become a teacher. Of course he’s right, but I like knowing I’ll have time off. Decent vacation time isn’t exactly guaranteed in the good ol’ USofA. Living in Australia for almost three years definitely introduced me to a different pace of life. Yes, you work hard during the day, but once you reach the end of the day, that’s it. You stop until the next day. And you take vacations – multiple ones, throughout the year. I’m going to work hard, and I expect it won’t all be for the same 8 hours, 5 days a week, but I’m going to have a life apart from my job too.

3. I get to join a union (most likely). That’s not a probability in a lot of professions. Unions are fundamentally good. Yes, members can disagree with union leadership, and yes, leadership can be corrupt, and yes, unions can be inflexible. When I compare those risks against the risk of poor working conditions without a union, I’ll take the union.

4. I’m a proud democrat (note the small “d”). I think more people should be, and I think teachers can play a critical role in encouraging the civic engagement needed in any democracy. I want everyone to see a way to find a place for themselves in our civic world, and I want them to see that there’s space for others too.


  1. […] One Step Forward, Two Steps… I’m a first year teacher. I’ve never taught Geometry before in any capacity, and I only student taught one semester of Algebra A (meaning, one quarter of Algebra I material). Needless to say, I’m reinventing the wheel on a regular basis. I know all teachers do this, (have you ever read someone else’s lesson plan and thought, “yeah, I could do that exactly as written”?) and I know that by definition you do this more often the first time you teach something (by more often, I mean every single frakin’ day). I try to live with this. The hard part is trying to accept that not every class in a week will be at the top of my game (which I can only force myself to consider because 11-13 hours is simply as many as I can work in one day). And I know that every teacher acquires a wide range of resources, many found and purchased without any support (financial or otherwise) from their school. But when I am told by that school to teach a particular list of skills, naturally based on the state standards, and the only resource I am given is a textbook that does not cover that material in any form – then I get frustrated. But of course I wrote the worksheet and of course I’m teaching those skills, because it’s not the students’ fault. And don’t I teach for the kids? […]

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