Teachers are people who inspire, give valuable lessons, help people to their goals. We push people’s limits, make them grow, give them skills and tools. And we do it day in, day out. We are more than subject matter experts, we are mentors, entertainers, and therapists with a command of how people learn. Our explicit job is to make people BETTER. And we do this day in and day out, week in and week out, nurturing others.
There is the very first part of that statement. “Teachers are PEOPLE…” Some days, we don’t want to get out of bed. There are days when I don’t feel motivated to do anything other than play Xbox in my pyjamas, let alone teach. This is also magnified with the fact that we live in a culture that doesn’t really value teachers that much (if you are reading this in another country, this may not be the case, but the U.S.A. doesn’t pay it’s educators very well). Sometimes I get bored, or discouraged, or feel undervalued. Teaching and nursing have high rates of burnout for a reason. We demand a lot from these professions, and don’t give much back. Who heals the healers? Who nurtures the nurturers?
And you work through it. Because you have to.
There are days when teaching is just a job. When I only show up because I am paid to do it, and not because I love it. On those days that I’m not feeling it, I’m happy that I have put in the work I have previously, because I can coast for a little while. But autopilot is the enemy, because it keeps us from thinking and choosing.
I *do* love to teach. There are times when a student looks up and tells you that they get it. Or that they never knew that they could like math. Or that they feel smart, and that they had never had that feeling before. Those are the moments that remind me of why I teach. But I love all of it, the good and the hard, all together. Being conscious of these things is important.
Teaching is a labor of love, but it is still a labor. You learn to push through it, recharge your batteries, and/or change things in your classroom to revitalize a bit. This isn’t unique to being teachers, it is implicit in being a human being. I will also recommend things like “This is Water“, which punctuates this quite nicely.
We are people, not just teachers.