I Am a Teacher

I Am a Teacher

Today, after a couple of really stressful days of work, I was packing up my bag with writing responses to grade at home when I noticed something that I posted on my bulletin board several years ago.

I tend to save things. Not in the hoarder “I save empty soup cans” way, but more of a hoarder of educational clippings, quotes, and articles. As most hoarders believe, I feel that one day I’ll need what I’ve kept. And today I have. It was a sidebar from an ATPE journal called “I Am a Teacher.” The article was about Northside ISD teacher, Daniel Leija, who was named Texas Teacher of the Year in 2011. Included in the article was a portion of Leija’s teacher of the year application. You can read Leija’s “I Am a Teacher” here: http://www.texastroopstoteachers.org/docs/leija-teacher.pdf.

Today I needed to read what Leija had to say about teaching, but what I really needed was to think and remember why I am a teacher. To remember what really drives and moves me instead of all the ridiculous, unimportant things that were swirling in my mind.

Below is my “I Am a Teacher.”

I am a teacher. My year begins in August and ends in June. My daily tasks are organized around fire drills, pep rallies, homecoming, and field trips. My evenings and weekends are spent in a constant state of wondering. Wondering how I can be a better teacher, a better role model- just better.

I am a believer. All students can learn, and I honestly believe that most want to learn. Kids are curious and that doesn’t stop in high school. I yearn to show these young men and women that enter my room every day how much the world has in store for them.

I am a friend. Yes, I know that these are high school students, and I am an adult. But the characteristics of a good friend are so similar to what makes a good teacher. Someone who is loyal, trustworthy, supportive, kind are just a few of what I hope I am to my students.

I am a cheerleader. I feel like I’ve never really taken off my high school cheerleading uniform because every day my students will hear my encouraging chants and “attaboys.”  Now whether or not they are listening is debatable. But I will keep on cheering, minus the pom poms and super short skirt because no one needs to see that at my age, because what’s important to me is what’s best for kids.

I am a reader. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I read ALL. THE. TIME. I pretty much grew up with a true crime book in my hands although my reading tastes have expanded since then. On my nightstand right now, you’ll see Deb Caletti’s young adult novel The Secret Life of Prince Charming next to the memoir A House in the Sky. And, if you ever decided to enter room C219, you will hear me passionately book talk any book that I think will motivate my students to read.

I am a teacher, the part-time parent to 150+ kids each year, the counselor to the girl whose boyfriend dumped her for the promiscuous girl, the salesperson. Because according to Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human, we are all trying to sell something. I’m selling the love of learning.

What defines you? Write your own “I Am…”