Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

When Did You Know You Wanted to Be a Teacher?

March 22, 2013

Recently, 250 teachers gathered in San Diego to compare notes on some of the big challenges they face: how to reach disengaged students, use technology in the classroom, and build meaningful relationships with their peers.

Although I wasn’t able to attend the meeting, I was touched by the video they showed during the opening-night presentation.

In the video, teachers from around the country talk about when they decided they wanted to be a teacher…

“Growing up as a child I saw my family struggle to learn English as a second language and I realized that I wanted to make an impact on the Hispanic community.”

“While working as a deputy sheriff in St. Louis, Missouri, I noticed the prisoners were getting younger and younger.”  

The biggest misconception about teaching…

“Teachers do this job because of all the vacation time” and “those who can’t do, teach.”

And my favorite. When the work gets tough…

“The thing I have to do is to remember what Frederick Douglass said, which was ‘If there is no struggle, there will be no progress. I also read a lot of romance novels.”

More teachers should have the opportunity to raise their voice. 

So, I have a question for all of the teachers out there: when did you know you wanted to teach? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #whyIteach. We’d love to see photos and videos of you in the classroom too.

I’ll keep an eye out for your responses and select a few of my favorites to share for National Teacher’s Day this upcoming May 7.

 
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