01 November 2014
Why do I love teaching?
When really thinking about this question, I feel like any of the negatives associated with my career choice melt away. Listen, every job has its stresses yet we return day in and day out for some reason(s). For some, it's because they need a paycheck to pay the bills. For some, it's easier than finding another job. For me, it is out of love and passion for what I do. I did try a few other jobs before I found my true calling.
Of course there are some of the obvious reasons that make being a teacher great like having more time to spend with my family and summer vacations. It's true, I am able to be home to help my kids with their homework, to bring the to and from soccer practice and games or to and from religious education classes. I am lucky to have an entire summer to spend with my wife and kids on awesome family vacations that make lasting memories. However, these reasons alone would never be enough to keep me in the profession. All that time off is more than earned.
First and foremost, I have a passion for what I teach- Italian. My goal is nothing more than to share everything I know about all things Italian with anyone who will listen. And let's face it, in a classroom setting, you've got yourself a pretty captive audience! I can easily be sidetracked from a grammar lesson but it almost always a nice side step into the culture of Italy so I don't mind because I know these are sometimes the most important lessons, even if the kids think they're not learning because it's not grammar related.
I would be completely remiss if I didn't say that the rapport I have with my students was not an important factor in getting me out of bed and into the classroom. At the high school level, students still seek guidance and someone to connect with. I have written many more college recommendations than many of my colleagues because I do take the time to get to know my students well. It is so rewarding when students come back to the school to visit or send me messages letting me know that I have had an impact on their lives. Nothing could make you feel so important. Just the other day, I had a two students visit me and one told me that she was so prepared for Italian classes in college and that she really did use her Italian often. She also told me that she made sure her younger siblings took Italian so they could have me as a teacher.
And it's not just the high school kids. I have been teaching children aged 2 and up for a few years now. My wife and I started a program that we run on weekends and we are currently in our eighth year! Watching kids this young pick up the language and learn is amazing. The gratification here isn't the same as on the high school level but it is just as sweet. Last week, I was teaching a group of 3 1/2 year olds and one student, in the middle of the lesson, got up from his chair and gave me one of the best hugs. When asking how they were feeling that day, another told me "Sto bene (I'm doing well) because I love being at Italian class."
Do I need any other reasons?