The Teacher Tip
Don Graves Monday: Why A Teacher?
August 7, 2017
by Donald H. Graves
I was a snotty college English major. When my dad, a superintendent of schools, raised the question of my becoming a teacher, I couldn’t say “Not on your life!” fast enough. I thought teaching was anti-intellectual and beneath my dignity. However, four years in the service, marriage, one child in hand and another on the way, sobered me. Suddenly teaching seemed the natural thing to do. It wasn’t a complicated decision in which I pondered a host of other careers. I had to have a job and support my family.
And so I became the product of an eight-week summer intensive teacher preparation course. There was such an acute teaching shortage in 1956 that the state sponsored courses to fill the gaps in classrooms. They gradually prepared us for large classrooms by first having us work with small groups of children, then larger ones of as many as ten or fifteen. I enjoyed the children, and I liked teaching them new things and observing them learn.
One day that summer I was leaving the class to go out to the playground when quite suddenly and very naturally I felt a hand take mine. I looked down and saw a ten-year-old girl smiling up at me. It was such a simple connection, but I remember thinking, “Teaching is something wonderful.” I’d met a side of myself I didn’t know was there.
Teaching lets us develop a side of ourselves
we might never know otherwise
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