I first wanted to become a teacher because I adored my 4th grade teacher and I wanted to be just like her. Later, I decide to be a teacher because I loved history and wanted to major in it... and what else can you do with a history degree? But as I became a teacher, I realized I teach for more, much more, than becoming like Ms. Robinson, or because I love history. I do it for the kids.
I read an article recently from a BYU alumni magazine where the the author, Michael D. Barnes said: "When students can utilize the information they have learned in class outside of school, especially if they learn who they can become, the influence of teachers on students becomes even more meaningful and relevant. Thus... [teachers] can influence the lives of students, either knowingly or unknowingly."
I am a teacher because I know I have a great impact on who my students become. I know that some of my students have rough home lives where they don't get the love and support they need. They are in desperate need of someone who will love them, care about them, listen to them, push them, and yes-- even discipline them.
There are some days where I might be the only person that holds that student accountable, that talks to them about their behavior, that challenges them to become better. I can be that person for them- through my example, and through the discussions I have with them. I can help them see how important it is to be kind, to have ambition, to persevere, to be honest, and to pick themselves up and try again.
I love my students, not only for who they are, but for who I know that they can become. I strive every day to help them see that.
At the end of a school year, I had a student who had struggled (and often focused too much on becoming popular) write down some different things he had learned in class as part of a make-up assignment. I was expecting to get answers pertaining to my course content, but all he had written to the question "What did you learn in class this year?" was a simple answer: "To be kind to others." If he forgets everything there is to know about Utah's history, but remembers this, I will feel that I did my job right.
I teach to help students realize who they can become, and the positive force for good they can be. I teach to help students look past who they are, and to instead look at who they can become.