I totally understand why people become teachers and the payoff that stems from it. Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but the kids make it worth it. Although I only knew my students for 14 weeks I have seen them grow and I have seen the hard work that they put into their work, I know that not all students have that kind of work ethic and some of them you wish were absent once in a while, but teaching is a hard gig, even though I only did it for a semester.
There was this paper that I read this semester called The Heart of a Teacher by Parker J. Palmer and the biggest concept that I got from that was that teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability which I believe in 100%. Not only have I had the opportunity to see my students grow, my students were able to see me become “Mr. Austria” in front of their eyes. Teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability because you need to build relationships with your students and it is something that you need to do daily. Building relationships with each and every one of your students holds them accountable and it holds you accountable to them. I believe that building relationships with your students and actually knowing your students is 75% of the job. I tried to make it a point to say each and every one of my students’ names every day when I saw them in the hallway.
On the last day of my internship one of my students said, “Mr. Austria, you really helped me a lot this year.” That’s when I knew it was totally worth it, through all of the tough times that I’ve had trying to manage the classroom and trying to teach the students something, they payoff was seeing my students actually grow into better versions of themselves. It was a fun ride being Mr. Austria for the semester and getting to know each and every one of my students, there may be a few bad days but the students always make it worth it.