Grateful for the Opportunity to Teach and to Learn—November, 2019

As Thanksgiving approaches, it seems appropriate to consider our blessings and the many reasons we have to be grateful. One of things I am most grateful for is the opportunity I have enjoyed of being involved with young people for most of my life. Regardless of whether it’s been through Scouting, school or church, I have had the privilege of seeing kids learn and grow in numerous situations. While my professional life has encompassed being a stock broker and an intelligence analyst, I found my passion in helping to ensure the youth are ready for their next steps in life.

I recently came across a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of what makes teaching such a great profession. While I won’t address each of the twenty items on the list, I do want to highlight a few of the reasons that educators have to be grateful. (I think you’ll find that many of these apply to parents and grandparents as well!)

Teaching is a Great Profession Because:

We witness daily “lightbulb” moments when students finally understand and master a skill or concept. — This is the best! Seeing someone who has not understood suddenly come to understand is the best reward anybody could ask for. We have the privilege of seeing students progress and grow throughout their time in our classroom.

Kids are fun! — Some of the best moments in my life have happened when I have witnessed the ways kids approach life. Their perspectives give me a new perspective. I will never forget 5-year-old Spencer who was stung by a bee and trying to make himself feel better by reporting to me that bees die when they sting. He then looked up at me with his tear-filled eyes and said, “But Mr. Holland, that’s an awful hard way to kill bees!”

Every day we play the role of actress, comedian, coach, cheerleader, parent, juggler and super hero without a cape! — Educators should never be bored; every student is unique and every day is different. We get to teach students life lessons every day; from success to failure, we work with parents to guide them through each phase of learning.

Learning is fun and we get to be life-long learners. — What other profession pays its workers for learning? We are not only allowed but are required to learn new techniques, new facts and new concepts that will enhance the student experience.

Kids are easily impressed. — You can wear a battery operated, light-up sweater with a flashing reindeer nose in December and twenty-five 5-year-olds think you are a fashionista!

We make a difference in children’s lives every single day. — Whether it’s a student who needs emotional support, a listening ear or simply an adult who believes in them, teachers frequently get to fill those needs.

The teaching profession asks us to be the best we can be intellectually, creatively, and emotionally. — When you have a room full of students who are depending on you to meet their varied needs, it’s difficult not to accept the challenge.

We are fully equipped for brilliant dinner conversations. — We are acutely aware of the current toy/eraser/collecting card/bracelet obsessions and will soon amass a collection of them on our desks!

Creativity is encouraged. — Where else could you ask students in a physics class to build a bridge out of uncooked spaghetti and then get them excited about piling weights on it until it collapses?

For these, as well as many other reasons, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with students and other educators. I also want to thank families for the chance to engage with the youth of this community. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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