When I tell someone I’m a high school math teacher, usually one of two things happens. They tell me how much they hated math and how bad they were at it or they make a comment about how they could “never do THAT JOB” and usually includes a look of pity.. I’m not especially surprised at the “I hate math” or “I was never good at math” statements. Somehow it seems to be okay to say that you’re bad at math but we’d never want to say that we can’t read. Its the other statement and particularly the look that bothers me. Pity…. really… you feel sorry for me. Well let me clear a few things up.
First, maybe you couldn’t be a teacher- I don’t know you. It does require the patience of Job, the energy of that
battery powered rabbit, the ability to make a million decisions every hour, passion, curiosity and a commitment to
OTHER people’s children that is a rare thing. Secondly, because of all of those things, its not a JOB, its a calling.
And yes, its hard! But for all that difficulty, comes lots of benefit. So, what do I make?
Hum…..Many of you may have seen this video – What do Teacher’s make? – its great! I highly recommend it. Yep, I feel like I make a difference and every now and then I get reminded about that difference – that ripple in the water – and that reminder is so much better than any big check anyone could ever send me!
The last few weeks, I’ve been reminded and I honestly wanted to use this blog so I would remember when maybe I’m not having as great a day. First, a current student emailed and asked me if I knew any CHS alumni that had “cool” jobs (they wanted to interview them for the school paper.) I didn’t remind her that I had a pretty “cool” job but did send her a rather impressive list. Here’s just a few of the “cool” jobs my “kids” are doing – working with teachers through The Math Forum, associate director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, members of the band Parachute, Stanford researcher developing clean water sources in poor countries, an engineer for Exxon Mobile, a police officer reconstructing accidents (using lots of Geometry), developer at Google, interactive graphics editor TIME magazine and of course at least four are teachers with one more in the wings. There are many, many more – plumbers, carpenters, administrative assistants, tech folks, moms and dads – all making their own impact.
Then last night I got to spend the evening with a bunch of my kids – the class I sponsored. They are, of course, not kids anymore but in my eyes they’ll always be my kids. I couldn’t be more proud of them as adults, as “my kids” and now as my friends. The hugs, the old stories, the connections – it was an amazing evening. I look forward to keeping those connections for many
more years to come.
So, I’m a teacher. I’m not bringing home a huge pay check. I probably won’t own a beach house. But I have made my ripple in the water – hopefully for the good. If these kids are any indication, I’m the winner. Pity me – everyone should envy me! I’m looking forward to the day when someone says – WOW, teaching, that must be an amazing way to spend your day! It is! Thirty-one years later, I’m still having fun and I’ll keep at it as long as I am. It is truly a gift!