Why I Teach

Why did you choose teaching?  What do you believe the purpose of education is?  What is it like having your summers off?  Bear with me as I answer these questions in a self-interview.  Yes, that means I’m interviewing myself.  Crazy and unprecedented.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked the above questions since I’ve become a teacher, and with the exception of the last question; I normally give a different answer every time.   Certainly, it’s not because I don’t know the answer, because I do know the answer.  Actually, there are thousands of answers that I would deem correct.

“But Travis, you are a Superintendent; you don’t teach anymore.”

 – Oh yes…I’ve heard that many times as well.

 We are all teachers.  If we are not teaching, we are not growing.  I don’t care who you are, how old you are, where you come from, what you look like, what you have done, etc – you are a teacher.  You may not have a classroom full of students.  You may not have any children of your own. You may be incarcerated, terminally ill, or Tom Hanks on a deserted island in the movie Cast Away.  YOU ARE A TEACHER.

“So why do you teach?”

I teach because I can inspire and be inspired at the same time.  I teach because I want tomorrow to be better than today.  I teach because I know that students are our number one asset.  I teach because every child deserves a chance every day.  I teach because I have a love of learning and I get to learn every day from my students and colleagues.  I teach because I was inspired by a teacher to do the same.  I teach because every child deserves one caring adult in their life – and let’s face it – sometimes that’s a teacher.  I teach because I want to celebrate and embrace differences in our children.  I teach for the money < – – – just checking to see if you’re still reading.  Honestly, I don’t teach for the income – rather I teach for the outcome.

“But that’s only nine reasons”

– Quit.  Now you are acting like my students.

“So what is the purpose of education”

The purpose resides in the reasons I love to teach.  We owe it to our students and ourselves to continue to advance our world for the better.  It should be our goal each day that we make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.  In doing so we must ensure that every child gets a chance to showcase their gifts and talents.  We must help them find their passions, and guide them as they mold that passion into purpose.  My purpose is to ensure that every child feels important.  That every child is appreciated and has a sense of self-worth that will carry them through the day, week, months, and years.  It’s self-worth that drives us.  I, as a teacher, can give that to somebody with very little effort.  You, as a teacher, can do the same.

“But seriously, how nice is it to have your summers off.”

I love it.  It’s a time for me to reflect, recharge, refocus, and renew.  I attend conferences.  I reevaluate curriculum and research best practices for instruction.  I take that knowledge and mold it into many project-based learning activities where students can be creative, think critically, communicate, and collaborate.   I design lessons for students that puts them on a path to being college, career, and life ready – even though many of my students will take jobs that haven’t yet been invented.  Many days of my summer are spent learning new technology that my students will use in the classroom.  Speaking of classroom – I spend many days and nights getting my classroom ready for the school year ahead.  In doing so – I research flexible seating and classroom environments that are proven to bring out the best in my students.  I spend many days enriching myself in my content area because the world is constantly changing and the life span of knowledge now days is much shorter than it has ever been.

And, as I’ve mentioned, I do all of this for the outcome and not the income.  I don’t get paid in dollars for my work in the summer – I get paid in knowing the fact that because of me, tomorrow will be better than today for someone.

Happy Teachers Appreciation Week to all Teachers of this world.  A special thank you to all the teachers that I’ve had that have helped me find my passion and purpose.  Thank you to all the teachers that I have worked side-by-side with the last thirteen years.  Without you – I would not be where I am today.

“Like having a conversation with yourself”

– Yes, exactly.  Talking to myself is a coping mechanism, and if you are a school teacher and you don’t talk to yourself, you are in the very small minority.

Have a fabulous week teachers.  Inspire people to Inspire Others

Travis Jordan

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