why i teach


my impressively talented husband took this picture from the ...  15th? ...  floor of his job site.

"when you know better, you do better." a senior in one of my classes told me that would the title of her memoir, which, she continued, would be a collection of stories and lessons she's learned in the first 18 years of her life. i think it could also be the title of my teaching philosophy--why teach? because when young people know better, they will do better.

sure, teaching seems like an uphill battle: early mornings setting up a classroom that will be trashed by the end of the day, contacting parents to keep them in the loop, writing lesson plans on weekends, grading all that authentic assessment in any spare moment, fielding student emails in the evening...and lots of times, i'm sure the students think i just rolled in and picked a few textbook activities to do during the period, when really i spent quality time crafting scaffolded activities so every learner can reach the goal; preparing daily check-in quizzes so the students can track their own progress; balancing activities that make them read, write, speak, and listen in Spanish.

they might not realize how much effort goes into helping them reach academic objectives, but i want them to know why i wake up and take a train 15 miles from my house: i really care. i want the next generation to be educated, socially, emotionally, and academically. i want them to be able to process their thoughts and emotions and then decide how best to act.  i want to model what loving Jesus looks like, and that they can make this world different.

maybe teaching really is an uphill battle.

but the end result? that these students will be responsible, contributing citizens who have committed to following Jesus, and who, because they know better, will do better.

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