When teachers walk into their very own classroom for the first time, they are filled with excitement, nervousness, and fear. Excitement because all those hours of study and observation have paid off. There is excitement that this – at last – is a space for them to begin making a difference. The nervousness comes from the fact that, well, kids can be a tough crowd. New teachers don’t know the rules, procedures, or any tricks of the trade that come with experience. What they do have is enthusiasm and hope. That fear of failure never truly goes away. And at the beginning of every year we each step into our empty classrooms full of some of that same enthusiasm and excitement.
Teaching is not a field to enter if one hopes to get rich. Nor is it a field for those seeking fame. Sometimes it seems as if even a “thank you” is too much to hope for.Teachers enter the field of education for one reason: to make a difference. Teachers want to touch the lives of people and show students that the future doesn’t have to be scary and they can do anything if they work hard for it. Teaching is tough. Teaching is exciting. Teaching is heartbreaking. Teaching is love.
Having said all that, I want to say that, for a teacher, it is the little things that keep us going. It is the A on that student’s paper. It is the smile of pride in a job well done. It is the excited students saying, “Thanks! You rock!” Teachers live for the moments of illumination and excitement in the classroom – tiny little light bulbs going off all over the room and students excitedly sharing what they are doing.
Teaching is also change. I recently read an article about chaos in change. Change is often uncomfortable, but it is also inevitable. What makes the difference is in how educators at all levels handle change. Do they embrace it? Fight it? Complain about it? As I continue into my 17th year of education I can remember mimeograph machines and turning that crank. I can remember the excitement when a copy machine made its appearance. Change can be a good thing. Change keeps us on our toes, keeps our fires lit, and gets us excited.
To all those new teachers out there – chin up. This tough time does pass. To all those veteran teachers out there – chin up. This tough time does pass.
Teaching is rewarding. Teaching is…..not easy. As we continue through the years of constant change – both in our students and in the tools we use to teach them – all we can do is hang on to that same excitement we felt on our first day. And temper that fear of failure with the knowledge that simply caring is a big part of being a successful teacher.
Teaching is….not a job. Not a career. It’s a way of living.
Christine Moore currently holds a degree in education and psychology from Howard Payne University and has a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. She is now working on her Ph.D. in Educational Technology at Walden University. Married with four children who attend Brownwood schools, Christine teaches 6th grade reading in Brownwood and has been working in education at various levels for the past 16 years. You can read her blog, Technology in Schools, at http://edtech-school.blogspot.com/. Christine welcomes your questions and comments and would love to hear from you!