Why I Teach (Part 1)

Why I Teach…

  • I teach to see the lights go on behind young people’s eyes when they discover something new about the world.
  • I teach to awaken them to what they can really do if they try.
  • I teach to show them that there isn’t always an easy solution, and that appreciating ambiguity and uncertainty is often worth more than easy answers…
  • I teach because sometimes it’s important for young people to learn to see through the fog, and to realize that what seems complicated is actually quite simple.
  • I teach to show them there is a world outside of their suburb, and it is full of strange and wonderful things.
  • I teach to give hope to the underdog.

  • I teach to make them realize that a good education goes beyond exchanging facts.
  • I teach because I believe that developing the ability to think independently, to solve problems and to stare down challenges gives my kids real-world skills.
  • I teach to make learning new things a life-long addiction.
  • I teach to extend minds. (Because I am tired of people closing them.)
  • I teach to help my young charges find strange and creative connections between disparate things.
  • I teach because developing a sense of empathy and honest tolerance of difference in my students is my way of making the world better.
  • I teach because I want to play a small part in helping my students achieve their most ridiculous dreams.
  • I teach to encourage them to question their own inherited beliefs, biases and preconceptions.
  • I teach to encourage my students to take time to think and reflect in a world that steals ever bigger chunks of their time.
  • I teach to foster in them a sense of responsibility and independence.
  • I teach because it’s just so nice to see where dreams are forged.
  • I teach because it is the most frightening, most frustrating, most rewarding, and most enjoyable job on the planet.
  • I teach because I have to extend myself every day in order to meet the expectations my students have of me.
  • I teach because I get to live idealistically – always imagining how well things could turn out in a few decades for my students, for my country and for the world.
  • I teach in the hopes that somewhere along the line, I will help one or two young people unveil their purpose in life.
  • I teach to sharpen critical minds – which become invincible swords against charlatans and tricksters.
  • I teach because I fail. And learning to fail, and conquer failure is the most valuable lesson I can give my students.
  • I teach in the hopes that one day, my students will help to build a kinder, better world.
  • I teach because I get to see the world through the eyes of those discovering the world for the first time.
  • I teach because I get to tell people I’m a teacher.
  • But most of all, I teach because I learn something new every day.
  • (With thanks to Sylvia Guinan for sparking the idea and to my unofficial collaborator and fellow idea-mongerer, Melani van Der Merwe for letting me steal some of her ideas.)


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