Utah Valley University's "For the Love of Reading Conference" provides an opportunity for teachers,...
This week’s feature is Jill Day. Jill Day has been teaching for 35 years. She teaches in the second grade at Provost Elementary and loves being with her students. Here is what Jill wrote about her reason for teaching:
Why I Teach…
by Jill Day
Why do I teach? This is an easy question. I think there are three main reasons: I love the children; they need a teacher who loves them; and I like the chance to keep learning.
I have been teaching at Provost for 35 years. I am still happy to come to school and be with my kids. Children have a fresh view of life. They see things from a different point of view. I am amused at the funny things they say and do. They keep things interesting. I enjoy exploring the world of learning with them. I tell them that once they are in my class they are part of my family for life. (Essay continued below video)
Children need a teacher that cares about what happens to them. I am their teacher but it is more. They know that I really love them no matter what. There are children in my class each year and each day that need me to be there for them. They need me to help them to read because they can’t. Some struggle to control themselves. They need to learn how. They need someone to tell them that math is fun because they hear parents say, “I was always bad at math.” They need someone to tell them why it is wrong to steal. They need to feel safe because school seems like such a scary place so far from home. They need to know that their teacher thinks they are smart because they don’t feel very smart right now. They need someone to laugh at the funny parts in the book. They need someone to explain the words they don’t know. They need someone to tell them that if they make mistakes they will have a consequence but I still love them. They need to hear that there is nothing they can ever do that would make me not love them. They need to be reassured that they are important. They need to see a smile when they walk through the door and hear someone singing good morning so they know today is going to be a good day. They need someone who is really glad they came to school today. They need someone who misses them every day they are absent. I teach because my kids need me to love them.
In teaching we are given basic tools. Each year we take more classes to fine-tune our craft. As the years pass our tool belts are overflowing with ideas to choose from to sculpt and mold the minds of our students. The chance to be creative and continue learning new skills is one of the reasons I teach. I love getting better at what I do. I enjoy trying new things especially if it will help the children understand better. My motto from the beginning has been that if I am not ready to try something new, I better be done teaching because I am not growing anymore.
The reason I teach is very simple: I love the kids. I can help them and it gives me great joy and satisfaction to be learning with them. Their sweet notes of appreciation and smiles when they get a concept make my day. When they tell me they wish we could have math all day, I know I am making a small difference. If even one child feels a little safer, happier, or better at something at the end of the day, I have fulfilled my purpose in coming to school.