Thursday, August 2, 2018

Why do we teach?

I got to loll in the Delaware Bay today. The water and the air were both about 80°F, the breeze about 15 mph, with clouds and sunshine taking turns playing on the beach. I got to see the sun while under the bay, something I love.

Delaware Bay, Jersey side
I know I am mortal. (Well, maybe not deep in my soul, but deep enough to profess on a blog.) I cannot swim as far as I once could, and, the surprising part (to me, anyway) is not needing to swim farther today than I did yesterday.

Death does not come to most of us in a day. Blame Lughnasadh.

I teach, and as each year approaches, I question why I teach. I think everybody who teaches owes it to their students to address this question.

If you cannot answer this, not saying you should quit. We all need to eat. But I think you owe it to your kids to tell them that you are not sure why you teach.

I will tell my kids why I teach. I do every year. It's between me, my kids and their families, and my administration (who have backed me for years, a huge part of why I continue to love what I do).

To teach to change the world is too damn abstract--spitting into the wind changes the world, changing the world is easy. Manipulating the world is a whole 'nother topic.

But I still love what I do, so I'll keep doing it.

And, BONUS!!!!, I'll keep lolling in the bay in late summer.....


Kate said...

I try to make this explicit to my students and especially to the parents. I teach because I am a reading evangelist. Not reading well is what gets our world in a pickle like the one it's in - if we let someone else read for us and tell us what something says (bible, laws, news, small print in the terms of service, a contract) we run a greater risk of making fools of ourselves, of getting on the wrong bus, as it were. To read is to think, and to think for ourselves is a gift. That is why I teach - because I want to give students a space to think for themselves in the company of other thinkers.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Thank you for this. I'm still pondering my response to my own question, but trust I will answer it as well as I can once the kids are back.

I apologize for my late reply--apparently I disabled my email from my blog comments.