I always say that working in education can be a thankless job, sometimes. People who don’t work in the field are often discrediting it because they imagine that teaching is like babysitting or that because some educators get summers off that it’s an easy job. I know of people who entered the teaching field just because they wanted something to do while they were in-between jobs or looking to transition to a new field, assuming it was an easy way to make money. Well, if you’re in education, you know that to be an educator, regardless of the role, your heart has to be in it because it’s hard job. However, it is very rewarding.
I think back on the days that I taught middle school and smile because while it was one of the most challenging because teaching is hard, I had so much fun teaching my students and learning about them. Even now, although my role has changed, the best part of my day is getting to interact with students.
This is why to me, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is being able to interact with students and witness their growth.
As previously mentioned, working in education is often a thankless job and often one that doesn’t provide immediate gratification. As an educator, you are pouring into students, daily, but it’s rare that you see the turnaround right away. It’s rare that you’re able to witness the growth of a student over night because normally things don’t work that way. I mean, I don’t even change overnight, even though I am constantly changing.
Each day you’re planting seeds of encouragement and learning into a student, but the best part is being able to see little glimpses of that growth over time.
It’s watching the student finally grasp a concept they didn’t know before or in my case in my new role, it’s getting to celebrate with a student who has grown academically over the year. It’s getting to hear them celebrate making second honors after struggling during the first quarter and watching them make the right decisions after a semester of making poor choices.
When I was a middle school teacher, it was seeing my students understand a concept or get excited about a topic that I was teaching. It was watching them finally grasp something that they had been struggling with and seeing the way their eyes light up when they get it.
It’s hearing from a student, “you’re my favorite person in the entire building.”
It’s those moments that I hold onto and that remind me why I entered this field in the first place. I entered it because I wanted to support students in their academic and personal journeys towards success. I joined for moments like these.
I joined the education field because I wanted to encourage students to achieve their academic and personal goals.
I joined because I wanted to support students through their personal challenges.
I joined because I wanted to help encourage the youth to use their voice in productive ways to contribute positive change.
I joined because I see so much value in our students and I believe that oftentimes our kids deserve better than what society gives them credit for.
I didn’t join education thinking that I could save students, because kids do not need saving. We are not their savior. I’d like to imagine that as educators we are their coaches, mentors, and cheerleaders all in one. We’re cheering them on, but we’re also there teaching them new strategies and new information to learn. We are rejoicing with them when they rejoice, but we are also there to provide tough love in a way that is constructive and fair when they need it.
I’m not going to lie, some days I wonder what it would be like to work outside of the field of education or out of the context of a school.
However, I would miss it if I ever left the field, because of moments like those that are so rewarding that it makes all of the challenges worth it.
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Are you an educator? What is the most enjoyable part of your job? If not, what do you currently do and what do you think is the most rewarding aspect of your job?