The teacher pledge is something that all teachers should make when beginning a new year at school. For me, it’s here in full-swing again, the start of a brand new school year!
My classes are beginning in September, but a lot of schools are back in session. Recently, I felt myself commiserating with some fellow teachers about new classes, new papers, new parents, and new, as well as old, problems.
Add the additional burden of doing it overseas with jet-lag and a language you don’t quite know and there might be a real headache upcoming. However, I took the time to really think about why I do what I do as well as why I continue to do it.
Every year, I think teachers think of some of the same reasons to continue this oftentimes grueling job, and I think everybody should take the time to reexamine their reasons for continuing to teach with what I like to call the “Teacher’s Pledge”. Here are some reasons I am continuing to teach abroad in my pledge:
1. Help/Challenge People
Along with teaching students the fundamentals of the English language, my main goal is to make students feel encouraged, capable, and loved. I really enjoy helping people and I know there is a lot more I can do in the classroom than drone on about my lesson.
Students, especially in different countries, are at school for such a long time—you and their classmates have a very large impact on their life, why not make it positive?
Along with making my students feel capable, I want to let them know I have very high expectations of them and I want to always challenge them to push themselves in whatever they choose to do, (good things, that is!). If a student is trying, I pledge to always encourage, push, and aid.
2. Help/Challenge Myself
As I challenge my students, so I challenge myself. I must always encourage myself, (even in times where I feel less than confident), remind myself I am capable, loved, and hold myself to a high standard.
I will always try to meet challenges head on, learn as much as I can, and keep trying. If I fail, I know it is a lesson and I am capable of other great things. I have support from people I care about and whom care for me as well. I must always strive to be better!
3. Care for Students
Sometimes it can be challenging to care about anything! Sometimes it can be hard to care specifically for someone who causes you some grief. Know that it isn’t about you.
Students might be feeling a lot of different emotions but I have yet to meet one that has specifically set out to ruin my day.
Even if they do sometimes, or it seems like they don’t care about me, I have to remember it isn’t about me. I must try to always care about every student and their education. Sometimes it can be a hard switch to turn off, too!
4. Walk and Talk
Before I began teaching, I worked at a Fortune 500 IT company. I sat behind a computer desk the entire day—only getting up to stretch my legs every hour or so.
I relished the gym after work; having that much room to jump, move, and lift. And socialize with my fellow gym mates! Working on tough IT problems requires a lot of concentration and little socialization!
How lucky am I that I get to walk around the entire day and have conversations with my students? Or perhaps I’ll be teaching a kindergarten class and I get to sing and dance!
Maybe it’s craft day or I just have to decorate my classroom for a holiday! I absolutely adore being able to move freely, talk, answer questions, sing, dance, create with my students!
5. New Connections
Along with all this moving and socializing, I get to make all kinds of new connections. Connections between students and classes, students and students, teachers and students, students and programs, programs and teachers, the connections are endless!
New friends, new families, new foods, new restaurants; there’s something new around every corner. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming but it’s something I wanted in my life, an overabundance of challenges.
I am so grateful I have the opportunity to learn these things and make these connections.
There you have it! I’m sure you have some pledges or celebrations on the list of why you continue to teach. If you are just getting started or looking for a new career path, write some things you like down and see where it takes you! It might end up taking you on a fantastic journey abroad like it did me.