I Was Born to be a Teacher

I have stayed silent long enough. There is a danger in silence. A danger I am not willing to ignore. A danger I am not willing to allow the future children of British Columbia, my province, my country to endure any longer. Maybe I am misinformed and the plans for public education in British Columbia are bright, fruitful, and beneficial for all. But from the ground, things don’t seem this way. I’ve been teaching in public education in British Columbia for only four years. Yet, every year my job gets a little bit harder and every year I cry a little bit more for my students … because I know what would help them be successful, but I, the school, the district .. we can’t give it for the well is dry. There isn’t enough. I’m not placing blame anywhere. I’m not here to talk about politics. I’m not here to defend either side. I’m here to tell my truth, for I can’t stay silent any longer.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”

– (Martin Luther King Jr., 1968).

I was born to be a teacher.

I can’t imagine any other profession that would be as fulfilling or as meaningful to me. Prior to being a teacher my friends referred to me as the “professional student” because I had a hard time submitting my first undergraduate graduation request. I couldn’t (can’t) get enough learning. It only made sense for me to pursue teaching, for it is a career that focuses around gathering and understanding new knowledge. I have been ravenous in my pursuit of this career. It’s as if I can’t get enough. I sign up for every after school/weekend/vacation professional development workshop I can and can afford. I find pleasure in decoding how each unique child learns, what makes them tick, what inspires them, and what drives them to be successful. I love collaborating with my team on what makes a child behave a certain way and what we can do as the adults to help this child succeed and lead a successful life inside and outside of school.

I was born to be a teacher.

I have found myself in this current situation deeply rethinking my career decision. Since entering the field I have been shocked by the amount of teacher belittling in Canada. I pour my heart and soul into my job and it’s hurtful to be treated the way we are often treated. I am often shocked by the way the people speak to us and of us, as if I didn’t care deeply about their children. It breaks my heart that they can’t (won’t) see that I care so deeply about their children that I spend my nights sleepless thinking about them and what I need to do next to encourage their success. I often rethink every word and action I said or performed. I worry I didn’t do enough, say enough, BE enough. With time I have learned to let the negative comments slide off my back like hot water. I ponder them tearfully and rethink my words and actions to ensure that they fit with my moral compass.

Any sane person would leave this career, regardless, I choose teaching.

I was BORN to be a teacher.

I won’t let the situation or the way people treat me drive me away from it.

This summer in British Columbia I have rethought my career choice many times. I have decided that I am a teacher through and through. Yet, I don’t have to remain a teacher in British Columbia.  I have a choice. In my short four year career here I have been beaten down many times. This summer, after only being a B.C. teacher for four years, I am feeling deflated, demoralized, and worthless. Yet, I am still standing. WE are still standing.

I am currently standing up with many other public teachers in British Columbia for the democratic right of my students. My students, our children deserve better. I certainly intend to take a stand for the rights of children in B.C. while I have the chance.

 

4 Comments

  • I admire your willingness to stand and advocate for your students, our children.

    It saddens me (but does not surprise me) that the current context of limited valuing, limited support and limited resources for our educators powerfully impacts you (and all teachers).

    My daughter and her peers enjoyed your skillful and compassionate tutelage over the past year. A year that many will never forget. I know that when my daughter is an adult she will still be talking about her “best teacher ever” ~ you.

    If you ever chose to not continue in the current context of education in BC, I would also respect such a decision. It must be incredibly difficult to be in an under resourced classroom, underfunded school(s) and chronically stressed system day after day. The disconnect between your values / your passion as an educator stand in sharp contrast to what surrounds you.

    I wish my admiration and appreciation for the incredible deposit that you have made to my daughter and her sense of self as a learner could transfer tenfold to you and that you knew intimately my immense valuing of you and your work.

    Alas, I can also imagine the voice of a parent or a few parents and colleagues does not touch the sides of the pain of experiencing judgement of your professional acumen and the lack of support by parents/community/society/government.

    Whichever path lies ahead for you, it is clear you will absolutely shine. You are passionate, reflective, bright, capable, collaborative, playful, collegial, compassionate and dedicated.

    May the educational arena in BC shift to support, retain and inspire such mentors for our children.

    If the educational domain fails both you and our children, I hope your journey leads you to a context where your passion as a learner and an educator can fully flourish.

    Reply
    • Dear Lisa Marie,

      You have always been (and continue to be) so kind and supportive of me during my journey as a teacher. Your message has touched my heart and will forever be a light during this dark time.

      I am so honoured to have “taught” your daughter and the rest of the kidlets. Each of the children hold a special, unique talent and I was so honoured to be privy to that. I learn so much from my students and 10 months is short already … but this year I only had 8 months to learn from such wonderful little professors of life. I hold a spot for each of my students, past and present and I hope that they experience much joy, happiness and laughter in their lives. And when they do, I hope that they will remember to embrace it.

      Thank you ever so much for your encouragement, your hopefulness, your appreciation and understanding. I will never forget it!

      Reply
  • Your heart, your truth, your power…loved this post.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Mary! It was not easy to write.

      Reply

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