Why Do I Teach?

A few decades ago (I'm not telling how many), my middle school English teacher called me aside and told me that she enjoyed my writing and wanted me to be on the Publication Staff the next year.

At the time, I brushed this off as something completely usual and certainly nothing resulting from anything special about me. And I didn't see it having any kind of impact on my life.

I forgot about the whole scenario until the next year, when I received a note from the office telling me that my presence was requested in that hallowed administrative space. I was mortified. What could I have done? Mind you, this was the first week of school, so I was particularly distraught as I made my way to the front of the building.

In the office stood my English teacher, the Publications Staff teacher, the principal and the secretary. They told me that if I wanted to join the staff, I needed to do so now. They'd take care of all the details.

I was flabbergasted.

That day, at the behest of two non-descript teachers, I made a decision that would alter my entire life. I joined the staff.

Looking back, I would not call those teachers my favorites. It took my a good decade (or two) to realize that they'd changed the course of my life — from a shy little girl to a newspaper reporter, entrepreneur and now teacher.

I looked back on my life after reading a post by a respected teacher in my field and had an epiphany: I didn't become a teacher so that I could make schools look good. I became a teacher to make a difference in the life of a child.

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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