Why I Love Teaching
posted by: Tamia | February 16, 2021, 03:54 PM   

#LoveTeaching Week is a week-long celebration that takes place mid-February for educators to exercise the conversation on why they love teaching. This week, educators are encouraged to reflect and analyze their love for teaching and the importance of the profession to them. This year, this conversation is especially important as many educators put their own health on the line to teach in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The educators who are still teaching virtually are also working tirelessly to ensure their students don't miss any instruction. We encourage you to join in on the conversation with AAE and ASTA by joining our #LoveTeaching Slow Chat on Twitter by following @aaeteachers! 


By Leslie Battles


As a 27-year veteran educator, I have often been asked “Why do you love teaching?” and my answers have varied over the years, depending on my age, my current circumstance, and the dynamics of the students I was teaching at the time. Certainly, I have been guilty of giving the cliché answers “Oh, I just love working with children” or “Seeing the lightbulb go on for students is the greatest gift” and although true, these answers have never succinctly expressed my authentic feelings about the work I do. Recently, I was reminded of one my favorite words and it seemed to perfectly reflect what I love about teaching.

Serendipity is finding something beautiful without looking for it. My journey as a teacher has been full of serendipitous moments. Last spring, in the thick of the Covid 19 Pandemic, I was blessed with the gift of serendipity and once again it arrived right on time.

Spring of 2020 was an unprecedented moment in history and I was struggling to reconcile best practice for my students while keeping them safe from the virus. Moreover, I was worrying about the gap in learning this was going to create in the future. As I obsessed about data, standards not being taught, and curriculum alignment for the coming years, I received a beautiful email from a former student. Willonda, was a student from my first class as a teacher in 1993. She expressed that she had been searching for me for years and because I don’t have social media and had moved out of state, this was no small task. Little did she know, that the delays in her search allowed me to receive her letter just at the time I needed it. Her letter was eloquent and touching and as I reflected on it I realized it didn’t say anything about the skills I taught her or the growth in her data over the course of that year. Instead it conveyed appreciation for the student/teacher relationship we had, the support she felt during a difficult time, and the joy she experienced in class. Message received. My stress level immediately dissipated and I refocused my energy into the things that really mattered.

Willonda’s beautiful gift of serendipity propelled me to pay it forward and write a letter to the family of my favorite teacher. My former high school teacher, tragically lost her life in a car accident at an early age. She made a huge impact on the lives of so many students and I know any impact I have on students today, is because she was part of my life and her example inspired me to become a teacher. My teacher was a young mother at the time of her death and I had longed to write a letter to her daughter, but waffled because of the tragedy. The letter I received was the catalyst I needed.

Well, you’ve probably guessed by now, my letter was received at the perfect time for my former teacher’s daughter. She is a mother now and wanted to know more about her mom, so she loved the letter. She was also thrilled to know her mom’s legacy was still having an impact on children today.

These moments are just a couple of examples of the beautiful things that happen unexpectedly in my profession every day. Every morning, I wake excited to see what the day holds for my class. Furthermore, if I am lucky, I will get to see the impact of some my actions in the future in the most unexpected, and beautiful ways…. moments of serendipity.

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