Monday, August 17, 2009

Media Mondays: why teach?

The carrot before the hare.

This article lists some examples of teacher's reasons for teaching.

"My motives are not nearly as altruistic," was what I thought when I first read this piece.

"What on earth are my motives for teaching?" was my second thought.

I've heard a lot of reasons from other people, the most common ones being:

* love for kids
* inspiration from a memorable teacher of their own
* want to improve society
* want to contribute to young people's lives
* June, July, and August
* want to make a difference in the world

That last one is something I have issues with. What does "making a difference" mean? Hitler made a difference in the world too, and I'm pretty sure none of these people I've talked to want to be like Hitler.

My motives (up to this point in time, and as much to my own self-aware knowledge as possible) for teaching:

* I've had some pretty crappy teachers in the past. I don't want to be like them, and want to prove - to the world, but mainly to myself - that I can be better than them

(yes, I know, "being better than someone else" is a really shallow reason to do anything)

* I like learning stuff. I'm lucky in the sense that I get to keep up with the latest and greatest knowledge known to man for my job.

* I like school. Well, high school wasn't such a great time for me. Neither was middle school, come to think of it.....and neither was any grade from fourth onward.....what on earth am I doing in this profession??!!

No, really, social aspect aside, I do like school. I know teaching does get monotonous sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. Everyday can be different.

And the social stuff doesn't have to be awful. Well, not all the time at least.

* I like to plan. Did you know that teachers plan? A lot? Until their eye balls pop out and their soft palates shrivel up? Doesn't that paint an excellent picture for you? I always have a back-up too. Sometimes, I even plan a back-up for the back-up. I am also known to have a back-up for the back-up for the back-up. Yes, I am insane like this. That said, there is also a strange satisfaction in being able to fly by the seat of my pants too. Flexibility, no?

* I enjoy the "June, July, and August" aspect too. I would enjoy it even more if I can find a job at a year-round, or modified traditional schedule, school. There is nothing so pleasing like traveling and developing my own education during the off-season.

* I'm a control freak. Extra-special, top of the class kind. Beware your manners when you enter my classroom - this is MY territory.

See what I mean about my motives not being altruistic? There is not one mention of liking kids, or inspiring people, or feeling the need to help people. All that is well and good, and I'll take it if and when it happens. But they are not the driving force that keeps me going in this crazy field. Don't know if it's a good idea to disclose this, but at least I'm being honest with myself.

But then, I know some people who have pretty twisted motives for teaching. Some of which resemble the twisted love n-gons on Grey's Anatomy than anything else.

People's motives for doing anything are sometimes complex like that.

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