Teaching: A great but misunderstood profession

As a current elementary school teacher for the Howell K-8 School District, I wear many hats. I am an educator, a nurse, a caregiver, a counselor, a friend and a colleague, to name a few. I am also a decision maker, a problem solver, an artist, a singer, a poet and an author.


y day begins before any

child walks through my classroom door, and it does not end when they pile onto the school bus.

During school hours my focus is my students and how I can teach them the objectives and goals I have set for them in math, reading, writing, language arts, science, social studies, and health.

As a teacher, I model, guide, reinforce, review and provide strategies for each child to implement now and use for the rest of his or her life. We sing, dance, recite, and move our bodies in more ways than one, so that I can encourage fun, memorable learning.

But before and after those school-day hours, I am grading papers, planning lessons, having discussions with parents and colleagues, and modifying the curriculum to meet my students’ individual needs.

My objectives change every day and every year. We provide a foundation for our country’s future leaders and workers.

But now it appears that all the work I have put into my profession is being questioned and is not good enough. I think “some people” forget how much work and time is put into being a teacher. They forget how much patience, time and creativity we must have to get this job done.

An unknown author once wrote, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.”

Americans would not be where they are today if it was not for that teacher who encouraged them to do their best, or showed them a different way to solve a problem, or who was the friend they needed.

I have been teaching for six years and never thought I would have to worry about my job because of how much time, effort and concern I have put into my profession. So now that I stare at my RIF (reduction in force) notice, I think, “What is happening to education? How could this happen to me? How could this happen to the children?”

I feel like I am being punished for a job well done. Teachers are the wrong people to do this to. We do not work for the paychecks or for the summers off. We work because it is the most rewarding profession.

It is the most incredible feeling when you see the light bulb go on above a struggling child’s head.

At the end of each year, I return to each child his or her first writing piece completed at the beginning of the year, and we compare the writing to the last one we will be doing in third grade, and the smiles can light up a room because the children see how far their writing has come in just one year.

But the brightest smile is the child who on the first day of school says, “I am not a very good writer and I do not want to do it!” Now that child is the best writer in the class because of me, a teacher. What other profession gets to have this satisfaction?

Chrissy Anderson