Why Do I Teach?

I've spent the last few days updating Blackboard, finalizing my syllabus, and reviewing lesson plans as I prepare to return to the classroom tomorrow morning. As I make preparations, I feel the same excitement I felt when I walked into my first college class. In fact, I get goose bumps every time I walk onto a college campus. That's how this chapter began.

More than a decade ago our weekends were consumed with college campus visits with my oldest daughter. During one visit, we walked onto the campus and I energetically declared, "I just love a university environment. It makes me want to go sit in each classroom and experience what the students are learning!" While my daughter shared my enthusiasm, my husband looked at me as if I'd just told him I wanted to have another child. He said, "I don't feel that way at all. Maybe you should do something about that."

So I did. A few years later I was back in the classroom pursuing my Masters. Fast-forward a few more years and I was back in the classroom as an Adjunct Professor. The years spent between student and professor were also spent trying to determine how to find work I loved again and to give back during the second half of my life.

Frequently my clients, friends, and even some strangers ask me why I teach. It's really quite simple. Teaching is what I was created to do. I just took a longer path to arrive at the front of the classroom. I also teach because I believe God places me in the classroom not just to teach but to also observe. I make a valiant effort to get to know my students and to observe their patterns. When something appears inconsistent, I check in with them to see what's up.

So, why do I teach? I teach because I love to learn, I teach because I want to give back, I teach because I care about my students, I teach because it is what I was created to do.

What are you created to do? Do you know? If you don't, I encourage you to search the depths of your soul to discover your strengths and passion. Ask your friends, family, and your professional associates to provide insight. When you were a child, what did you dream you would be when you grew up? Once you identify your strengths and passion, find that place where the opportunity to utilize these gifts exists. Then have the courage to take the first step down the path to change. You will know it's the right path because you'll feel energized and will have to make yourself stop "working". And you'll probably have goose bumps!

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