Why I Love Being An Educator (Satanic Bibles Excluded)

The Kids

This particular reason could equally be the leading point in a corresponding blog post titled “Why I Hate Being An Educator.” But seriously, my job is ALWAYS interesting and it ALWAYS keeps me on my toes; and ninth graders are the main reason for that. You never know what off the wall question, what bipolar mood, what hilarious comment, or what surprising encouragement you may get from day-to-day. I could be stuck in a sterile office environment and chained to a screen and desk.

But I am entrusted with real humans with real issues and real potential that I may play a part in tapping. There is high risk/reward in such an endeavor, especially when factoring in raging hormonal activity.

But maybe their relatively short experience in my class will help them garner a life skill, a moral lesson, a thirst for learning, or just an appreciation for a person that cared about their future. That’s a gamble worth taking.

The Schedule

I coach football and track, so I don’t have as much free time as others, but as an educator family time is easily planned and executed around holidays and summer time. When my oldest son, Josiah, starts kindergarten  next year I will be even more thankful for our corresponding schedules. Being an educator really is a family friendly occupation and I venture to guess that is one reason many of my coworkers are young mothers.

Also, do you remember that feeling you had as a kid anticipating Christmas morning? Teachers, in part, still get to have that.

I get to celebrate and revel in the arrival of Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring/Summer break as much, probably more than, my students. I’ve even been known to blare Rebecca Black’s “Friday” given the weekend occasion, and at the end of last year I can neither confirm nor deny my class may have heard Will Smith’s “Summertime” on the last day of school.

Being an educator keeps me family focused and keeps me young.

The Ministry

As a public school educator, there are some legal constraints as to what I can say in my daily dialogue with students. But being in the mission field of a public high school the past 4 years has kept me cognizant of how lost and hurting and broken this youth generation is. When I was involved extensively in church youth ministry I always felt there was a religious facade that had to be penetrated before real ministry began with a young person. Spiritual games can be easily played at a church.

That facade doesn’t exist in the context of a high school hallway.

Not in the emo kid (with an absentee father) who brings his Satanic Bible to class instead of his Algebra book.

Not in the ninth grade athlete with a violent short fuse because his mom tragically died last year.

Not in the pregnant fifteen year old whose baby’s daddy is in jail for grand theft auto.

These are real kids with real issues. Sure, they can be hyper-emotional, rude, angry, lazy, disrespectful, and scallywags in general. By nature we all can be. But many of those attributes were learned in their early nurturing. And all of them need the same basic virtue applied to them that has been generously bestowed on me by One greater: Grace.

When I can’t give that overtly in words, hopefully they experience it in the way I treat them.

There are certainly more reasons than these, but these three are enough for me to be thankful for my calling/occupation.

Do you love what you do? Why?

Bryan Daniels

You Can Lead a Ninth Grader To Math Class But…

{Almost verbatim}

Teacher: “Guys, I can only give you so many opportunities to succeed, but you have to reach out and take them. You know what they say, ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t…'”

Teenager: “…Drown it?”

Teacher: “Exactly. But actually, you can drown it.”

Teenager: “Really?”

Teacher: “Sure, I’ve done it before”

Teenager: “Really?! Why?”

Teacher: “It made me mad”

Teenager: “What did it do to you?”

Teacher: “It was easier to do than you think”

Teenager: “What?!”

Teacher: “It was one of those little mini horses about this high”

Teenager: “Awww, why did you drown it?!”

Teacher: “It was ticking me off”

Teenager: “What? What did it do to you?!”

Teacher: “It was just too cute, it was starting to make me mad”

Teenager: “Are you being serious?!”

Teacher: “No….I’m definitely not being serious right now….disregard everything I’ve said in this conversation immediately. Back to the analogy, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t…”

Teenager:  “Make it swim?”

Facepalm.

Bryan Daniels

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