Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Education?

Twitter has had a significant impact on my professional life over the past year. Connecting with other educators and leaders has both inspired, and challenged me. Case in point, yesterday George Couros (@gcouros), Division Principal  of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division, asked those participating in the #sd36learn chat to respond to the following questions: why did you become an educator and what legacy do you want to leave? These questions, and their answers are incredibly important. Teaching can be draining. There are days when the myriad of demands can seem too much. On these days it is important to remind ourselves why we came to this profession and the legacy we want to leave behind. As I looked towards another three days of high-stakes state testing I needed this reminder. Thanks George!

I didn't always want to be an educator. My love of the outdoors, and rocks in particular, led me to the University of Toronto at Scarborough (UTSC) to pursue a degree in Environmental Science. However, while studying at UTSC I was introduced to the Early Teacher Project, a collaborative effort between UTSC and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT). The project's goal was to encourage students pursuing a degree in science and/or math to consider a career in teaching. As part of the project students participated in seminars relating to education, and were required to spend 6 weeks in a classroom. After spending about a week I realized that I was meant to be an educator. As much as I loved research and field work, it could not compare to the joy that I found sharing my passion for science and the environment with students. The looks of wonder and awe, their enthusiasm and excitement were contagious. I found my real passions - teaching and learning.

My 13 years in education have been filled with joy, sorrow, frustration, and triumph. There have been times when I have questioned my vocation, and thought perhaps it was time for me to leave, but I am an educator at heart, and I can't imagine doing anything else. I teach because I love learning. I teach because I love the opportunity to share my passion with others. I teach because I believe I can be an agent of change. I teach because I believe I can make a difference in the life of a child.

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