This post was written for this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week as part of the Center for Teaching Quality’s #TeachingIs campaign… 

This week is teacher appreciation week and it’s always nice to get reminders about why I became a teacher. Whether anyone tells me it or not, I know that every day there are people who appreciate what I do. Teaching is one of the greatest jobs in the world because I know I’m having a lasting impact on my students every day in my classroom.

I first experienced this sense of appreciation as a camp counselor when I was a teenager. The younger kids looked up to me and at the end of one week together they always were sad to leave. After that, I became a tutor in high school and college and again the feeling was similar. Students had trouble understanding something and they were happy I could help them improve their grade. So I thought I should become a teacher because helping kids learn was a natural talent of mine and I enjoyed it.

But teaching is so much more than just helping a student learn information. In order to help any child learn, teachers must first form a personal connection with that student. I need to know what motivates, inspires, excites, and saddens my students before I can reach them on an academic level. This is the part of teaching that students appreciate most, because more than anything they just need adults in their lives who care about them as people. I didn’t understand this when I first became a teacher, but now I recognize opportunities to show students that I care every day.

And now in my career when I reflect on why I became a teacher, this is the most important reason. Yes, teaching can be hard sometimes. Students have their rough days just like teachers do. But when I show I care about the students, they also show that they care about me. Every year we get to create great memories as we learn about each other and life. That is my biggest reward and the reason why I became a teacher.

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