Why I Plan to Stay in Teaching

Education Week American Education News Site of RecordA recent Education Week blog written by teacher Justin Minkel offers up a counterpoint to those articles that explain why teachers leave the profession.

He begins with a poignant introduction:

I groan each time another “Why I Quit Teaching” story pops up in my Facebook feed. These columns by teachers who decided to leave teaching are often confessional, occasionally self-righteous. Some manage, bizarrely, to be both.

The proliferation of these pieces indicts a system that drives out new, mid-career, and experienced teachers for all the wrong reasons. They invariably make good points. If we’re going to keep talented teachers, our profession does need more respect, higher pay, and policies that don’t seem like they were written by a troop of drunk monkeys on typewriters.

But these gloomy tales of departure also demand an equal and opposite reaction: stories by teachers who have chosen to stay. Those of us who plan to teach for the rest of our careers need to speak up about why we have made that choice.

His three main reasons for staying are as follows:

  1. The kids

The kids we teach can be hilarious. But they are also brave, brilliant, and wise. They come through the barriers in their lives—hunger, homelessness, racism—with courage and grace. I don’t see how we can demand less courage of ourselves than our students display on a daily basis.

  1. The work

Teaching is a thought profession. The content might seem simple—letter sounds and colors, shapes and math facts—but the interaction between a child’s mind and these concepts is fascinating and complex. Teachers bring a lot of heart to this work, but it demands an active mind, too: reflection, inquiry, and perpetual improvisation. You will never be bored.

  1. The colleagues

The low pay, long hours, and absurd policies took their toll at times, but they couldn’t touch these career teachers’ kindness toward the students in their care. They remained delighted by the endless human variety of the young people who walked through the classroom door each year, and they treated every student with warmth, patience, and respect.


To read the full article, see http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2016/02/24/why-i-plan-to-stay-in-teaching.html?qs=why+I+plan+to+stay+in+teaching