The Reason Why I Teach (floating on Cloud 9)

So, I’m wandering around a shop in town when someone calls my name.  I look up and its the mother and daughter of a former student of mine.  I”m so happy to see them as I’ve lost touch with CeCe and wondered if she had reached her current goal.

Let me back up a bit.  CeCe was class valedictorian of the very first graduating class of a small charter school I taught at about 5 years ago.  Students at this school came to us with a multitude of deficiencies and personal issues and many an afternoon, the high school teachers simply sat in a room together and cried from frustration.

CeCe was different.  She wanted to go to college.  She was thinking of maybe going to medical school one day.  She loved science (and kept ME on my toes) and was the cheerleader for her small band (18) of classmates.  She received a scholarship to a small school in Alabama, packed up and was on her way.  I kept up with her via Facebook, and was slightly disturbed by the behavior of her boyfriend here at home, whining about how he missed her and wished she’d come home.  I tracked her mother down and we put a plan in action to keep her focused and him out of her ear. It worked!

Back to the present. When we finally stopped hugging each other in the store, mama let me know that all was well and that CeCe will be graduating in December.  Her sister’s phone ran and guess who was on the other end?  We screamed and cried as she realized who she was speaking to and told me she was so glad I stayed in her butt in high school.  I was in tears, mom was in tears, people walking by were in tears (ok, maybe not, but they should have been).

Mama kept crying,  hugging me and thanking me and calling me by the nickname they’d given me, “the big gun”, laughing and telling me how she’d scare CeCe when she’d get off track. (“I’m gonna find the big gun and have her talk to you now!”) I could see her joy and thankfulness in her face.  I could hear CeCe’s pride at a task completed in her voice.

This is why I teach. If one child, just one, sets a goal and reaches it, I’ve done a good thing. Teaching is about more than the reading, writing, arithmetic and other academic areas.  Its about creating successful people; people who want and need to contribute to the greater society and be productive and happy.  Teaching is about being the example, providing the experiences, guiding the curious.  I love my job.

CeCe will receive her bachelor of science degree in Psychology in December.  She wants to go to graduate school.  I’m on the case looking for a fellowship for her.  She made me cry the day she graduated.  I’m crying now.

Cloud 9 is so … nice!


Which student did you push hard because you saw the potential in them?  Where are they now?  Why do YOU teach?

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