Why I’m (still) a teacher

Teaching is difficult and wearisome; sometimes it’s downright painful.  It’s a lot of work and little thanks.  No one sees the hours you put in grading at home or appreciates the awesome lesson plans you spent your weekend putting together.  Your salary is miserably low.  The main response you get for your hard work is complaining: students complain about homework, parents complain about their children’s grades, the administration complains about your classroom management.

But then, every so often, a single student voices thanks in a way that touches your heart and makes all the crap you have to deal with completely worth it.  The following is a thank-you note I received today from a senior.  I taught this young man in the 9th, 11th, and 12th grades, and while I occasionally glimpsed true interest in the material we studied, most of the time he sat there spouting sarcasm.

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

Thank you for teaching me the depth and intricacy that is literature.  Through your influence, though I often don’t express it, you have kindled in me the love for a good book.  Thank you for putting up with my complaining and my unfortunate antics, and teaching me about life through the perspectives and experience literature provides.  You and your teachings have helped me become the young man I am, and for that I am truly and utterly thankful.

Teaching is a pain in the butt–there’s no doubt about that.  But it’s also the coolest, funnest, most rewarding job on the planet.  I’d never be anything else.

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