I started asking myself a question this summer, Why am I a teacher? What made me want to take on the task of dealing with children who don't care, lawmakers that have no clue, and the fact of there is no money in the budget for whatever....
I think back to my 9th grade pre algebra class in 1985, I was taking a test-cheating, and the teacher- a football coach, saw me and kept on walking back to his desk to pick up his newspaper to read. I remember thinking, "holy cow, I didn't get caught"! Or did I. No, my test was never taken up, I don't even know the grade I made. But, I remember thinking, I want to be a coach...... and I'll teach if I have to. I can handle reading a newspaper all day and then doing athletics. Ea-sy! I am not sure why this event encouraged me in the direction of teaching. I have learned over the last 15 years that nothing about this job is easy. Coaches have no excuse to not be good teachers. There is no reading the paper. That is what summer is for!!!
I think I did always want to coach. What a great platform for teaching kids, usually something they are engaged in and want to learn about. I knew that my passion was in sports. Any sport. Any competition.
I survived high school, not great grades, not great interest. But, I excelled in athletics. I knew that if I wanted to go to college, I needed to get an athletic scholarship. That actually happened! I went on to play volleyball for 2 years at a brand new program at Vernon College, Vernon, TX. I graduated with my associates degree and loved school! I loved college volleyball! I then went on to play volleyball at Cameron University, Lawton OK. I really enjoyed my time there. Volleyball was much more difficult, I was diagnosed with diabetes and still wanted to be a coach/teacher. My major was of course..... HPE....I decided my minor needed to be in science since that was the only other subject that I could tolerate. When it became time to do my student teaching, I was married and we decided to move to Altus, OK for me to do my student teaching.
I seriously re-thought my decision to be a coach/teacher. Mainly the teacher part. You see, I don't seem to carry the gene for patience. My first student teaching assignment was at Altus Middle School to be the 6-8 pe teacher. The community was low socioeconomic, and playing with gang affiliation. Needless to say when you have 60 6th grade boys, and you have no gray hair to show your ability to hang with them. I have learned that gray hair says a lot about you and not in a bad way. My patience was tested greatly and it was tough. But, I still had fun because we were doing activities. The kids- not so much. They wanted to just play basketball. So I had to convince them of other activities. The best was when we lined up in front of the tv to do Richard Simmons, Sweating to the Oldies. They actually did it! Said that it was stupid, but, there was some enjoyment in there somewhere....
I went on to graduate and was thinking that I still wanted to be a teacher. I substituted for what seems like 10 years and was happy with that since I didn't 'need' the job but wanted to work.
Here I am many years older, and definitely much grayer. I still lack patience but am definitely doing better and realizing which battles to take on with kids. Figuring out how to get them to perform when they don't want to in subjects or sports they don't like. I like the 'too cool for school' kids. The unmotivated. The kids who don't seem to have a choice for their future. Because that was me.
Today I teach 7th grade science at Jarrell Middle School and have the pleasure of still coaching. I do 7/8th grade volleyball basketball and track.
Now, I still want to be a teacher, but why? I considered getting out a couple of years ago because I just couldn't get through to that specific group of kids. Why am I still here??? Have you heard of all of the craziness in the news with teachers, lawmakers, no money, too many tests, etc.?
I rediscovered this summer some motivation of "why do I still do this". After reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I remembered back to my middle school years and remember how miserable I was. Puberty set in. My family was crazy. I did not like school, I was not going to study. But, someone encouraged me to get into athletics after they saw my enthusiasm in pe. I said sure and was hooked from that day. My middle school years were a crucial time in my life. Like it is for so many kids at this age. The fork in the road if you will. I just happened to be surrounded by great friends who I was able to follow down the right path. Now, I played on the other fork and got into trouble. But, I saw the importance of doing the right thing and going down the right path.
Let's answer, "why I am still here". Because the kids need a #1 fan in the classroom. That's me. When they walk into my class, they will hear, see, feel my passion for them-as human beings- in science class as well as athletics. They will hear, "Great job", "Let's try it again". My passion is loud. My passion is intense. I believe in them. They will know that when they walk in.
When they leave at the end of class or at the end of the year they will be saying "whoa, that was fun". "Man, Coach Boyd got onto me, she must care". "She IS crazy!" "She is my #1 fan". They will leave knowing they are cared about and be encouraged to succeed....
One of my favorite quotes from Dave's book: "Despite all my shortcomings, I know I excel in one important area: enthusiasm". This keeps me going. I am enthusiastic for the kids. For their learning. For their future. For my future. LET'S DO THIS!!!