THIS is why I became a teacher!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Miss J. Pre-K, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Nov 26, 2008

    So I'm a first year teacher who is beginning to get the blahs (need more sunlight, maybe?) Can my fellow teachers post stories that you have that really validated your reason for choosing teaching (or maybe just why you became a teacher)? I could really use some inspiration. Thanks. :love:
     
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  3. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    Nov 26, 2008

    Hearing back from students after they've graduated (even if they're sending you their university assignments to proof-read, lol). Here's one of my favourites that I got the day after graduation last year:


    Hello~ Mr._______.

    I'm _________.
    I finished the course of high school yesterday with my friends.
    I wanted to say something to you.
    But, I didn't talk with you any word.
    So, I'm writing e-mail now.
    Thank you very much!!
    I learned many thing including English from you.
    Also, Thanks to your guide, I could go Canada and see lots of beautiful sight.
    You didn't get angry even if we would fret.
    I hope you live happily forever.

    Bye~

    p.s. Maybe I mistook english grammar or expression. ^^
     
  4. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Nov 26, 2008

    Not a classroom story, but I advise a club. I had a student that wasn't involved in anything but my club at school. He had a tough act to follow - sister was prom queen, student council president, etc. He was quiet different. Mom and Dad just wanted him to get through school. I got him involved in one of the award programs. He ended up being in the running for a state award. He won regionals and was recognized at the capital as a state finalist. His mom is an aide at school and when I went to tell her she needed to get a day off to go see him on the stage at the capital, she started crying and had to go call her hubby.
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Nov 26, 2008

    I had a really difficult class last year (my first) and I had the blahs just about every day! I felt like I was getting nowhere and each day was more difficult than the last. But in retrospect, I was able to see how much I accomplished.

    I had one student who was diagnosed with ASD. Everyone looked at him like a stereotypical autistic. I was told to follow a strict regimen of teaching him social skills such as eye contact through reward and punishment. I felt that there was a lot of personality being sacrificed with that program. Although I did use some incentives, I focused on developing a relationship with the student. Yes, contrary to what the others thought, it was possible to build a mutually respectful relationship. By the end of the year, his eye contact and conversation skills had improved and his overall demeanor was more relaxed. His nervous outbursts had decreased drastically in my class. His personal creative intelligence was able to show through.
    Watching his development really gave me a confidence boost as a new teacher. It showed me that caring and responding to the individual students' needs is really the way to go.

    Another student was simply awful in my class. The problem was obvious -- my class was a poor fit for him, both academically and socially. He had been put in my special ed class because he couldn't read but otherwise he was way ahead of my other students. He was very resentful and hated school. I pushed and pushed until I got permission to integrate him into a more appropriate class. The teacher agreed to pair him with a buddy for things that required reading, and for the reading and writing periods themselves he was pulled out for individualized instruction. This may not seem like a personal success story because I was unable to help this student myself. He always hated me as the teacher of the "bad" class. But I still feel like this is why I became a teacher -- to get this kid what he needed, what no one else wanted to give him. After he switched classes, he became a different person -- his "stomachaches" disappeared, his behavior problems all but vanished, he took interest in learning and became a truly bright student.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 27, 2008

    One day last year a boy in my class told me about what had happened over the weekend. He and his buddies were in wal-mart and he noticed they were shoving things in their pockets. He told them they shouldn't do it, but they just laughed and said they wouldn't be caught and it was no big deal. My student decided to leave and take the bus home. When I told him that I was proud of him for making the right choice, he said he did it because he was afraid of dissapointing me. Me, not his mom or his dad, but me, his math teacher. I was overwhelmed and nearly cried. This is why I do this. Note, I work in the inner city. These kids have very few positive role models.

    Another story is from this year. I sidetracked a class into a "what do I want to be when I grow up" chat. My biggest behavior problem said she wanted to be a doctor. Instead of dismissing her dream, as pretty much all the other adults have done, I asked her if she knew what kind of courses she would need to take to complete a med school degree. She didn't know so I laid it all out for her then asked her if she thought she could do it. She stammered a little bit then I asked her how bad she wanted to be a doctor and she said she wanted it a lot. I then told her that she could do it if she wanted it bad enough, and I fully expected to recieve an invite to her med school graduation in 13 years. That child has had a complete turn around in her behavior and grades not just in my class, but in all of her classes. Even if she never becomes a doctor, she'll do something with her life (as long as she keeps going the way she's going...not an A student yet, but getting closer every day). It's hard to believe that sometimes the difference in a student's success or failure can be as simple as a single adult believing in them.

    Beyond the big stories, there's the every day stuff, like the times when you see a student "get it". Those light bulb moments they have are wonderful to watch. There's also those moments when they come up to you and hug you for no reason, or when the boys who are "too cool" to give you a hug trip over themselves to help you move something heavy. Then there's the times when you see them in the store or other public place and their eyes light up and they get excited to introduce their mother or grandmother to you....and you can tell they're really proud and happy to point you out.

    Obviously, I love my job. I still can't believe I get paid to do this (though granted not much). I can't imagine doing anything else, or even teaching a different group of kids.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2008

    Many years ago I had a senior named Brian in my Precalculus class. He was a nice enough kid, and a good student. The kind who would hold a door for you or say good morning, but not one I became incredibly close to.

    Several months after graduation, Brian died in a freak accident. He had been on a ship at the Merchant Marine Academy, and had slipped on the stairs or something.

    Like everyone else, I went to the wake and got a thank you from his parents.

    But I still have that thank you note. His mom raved about how Brian had loved my class, and how he loved having me as a teacher. I can't tell you how it touched me to realize that I had unknowingly made such a difference.

    Or I could tell you about the girl my husband met in grad school a million years ago. She had gone to the first school where I had taught. When she realized that Peter was my husband, she said that I was the reason she had decided to become a math teacher.

    There are so many small stories from over the years.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Nov 27, 2008

    I have too many stories that keep me coming back to the classroom. I have my students 2 years in a row, so by the time they graduate, we are a tight group. Graduation day is so wonderful for me, though I cry like a baby (and as a teacher, I sit on the stage through the ceremony).

    My students make me laugh, they crack me up. That's probably the best thing about being a teacher. That, and hearing, "Good Morning, Mrs. M!" from 50 different kids. It's just hard to not enjoy your day.
     
  9. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Nov 27, 2008

    It is the many polite ,hard working and caring students I have met over the years. It is the breakfast that some of my former students arranged for me twenty years after they had been in my class,it is the three former students who have returned to my school as teachers who tell me how much I Influenced their lives,it is knowing that I have made a difference in some people's lives.
    Hang in their,thirty years later there are still days I wonder why I am here,but in the end it is really worth it.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2008

    Every day is different--this job is never boring. I feel so blessed to be a part of these young people's lives. I laugh with them, cry for them and stay awake nights worrying, not about my lesson plans but about how things can be better for some of "my kids". I know that I make a difference when some of my tough grade 8 students start to treat other teachers with the same respect they show me, when they tell me that they want to make me proud, when they made cards for my dad when he was in the hospital and for me when he passed away. My heart swells when I hear, "I told you she loves us", "Please teach us next year" and "Who's going to look out for us next year?"

    Do I get frustrated, h*** yes. In the long run, however, there is nothing I would rather be doing and no where I would rather be.
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Nov 27, 2008

    When I was student teaching in a 1st grade classroom, there was one little boy who really struggled with reading. If he couldn't get a word right away he would become angry and frustrated, and when that happened he would slam the book closed and try his hardest not to cry. I worked with him one on one quite a bit and taught him to try and relax himself by closing his eyes, counting to 5, and taking a slow deep breath before trying again. It was a hard thing for him to master, but he did. One day he came to school and told his teacher and me how his older brother was mean to him at home the previous day. "What did you do?" the teacher asked. "I closed my eyes, counted to 5, took a deep breath, and walked away from him." I almost started crying myself I was so proud of him. I still am.

    This year there is a boy in my class that has only been in the States for little more than a year. He has picked up on the language quickly but not the subtleties in humor. He will say things he thinks are funny, but they are actaully rude or hurtful and the kids get frustrated with him. I think he must be taking humor lessons from The Simpsons. I have been trying to help him understand that these things he says aren't funny at all. A couple of weeks ago we had to eat lunch in the rooms because there was something going on in the social hall. I pulled out a fruit snack of some sort from my drawer because the lunch that day was pretty bad. He saw this and really wanted me to give it to him, so he started telling me it was poison and he didn't wan't me to get sick so I should give it to him. Eventually I split it between him and another student. When we came in from recess he said "See Ms. X! I told you it was poison! You only took one bite and your nose is all red!" It had been cold outside. I had to laugh because he got the humor right!
     
  12. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2008

    I teach Pre-K. A few years ago, I found out that I was going to get a difficult student moved into my class. I made time to "accidently" see her (before she was told) to tell her that I wished she was in my room. As the year progressed, I found out she was a foster child.

    One day she had an earache and started crying at naptime. I had her come sit on my lap and put her head on my shoulder to warm her ear for a little while until she stopped crying. When she felt better and could go lay down, she told me that she had never sat on anyone's lap like that before. I quickly covered her up so she couldn't see me start to cry. The rest of the year, she was a different child. I can't imagine not showing a 4 year old any affection.... I think about her every year... Sometimes you don't know what a kind word or a show of caring will do for a child.
     

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