Why Teachers Matter

Clay Banks

Teaching is one of my biggest passions. It is something that I hold dear to my heart because it is something that grows stronger and stronger. Even through months of a professional hiatus and not stressing over the time or day of the week, I couldn’t help but think of what my kiddos were doing. I thought about them playing outside and enjoying the time off to create their own adventures. I thought about them going on vacations with their family and celebrating holidays together. I wondered if they read any books and if so, which ones. I hoped that they found some inspiration to write and let their minds unwind too. I thought about their safety and hoped that they were all at this precise moment finding a reason to smile.

These feelings are something I could never let go of. It is within my passions that I find a reason to smile proudly. It is within my passions that I can go to a place and make a difference every day. It is within my passions that I can educate young scholars and learn from the creative minds of our future. These are the thoughts that allow me to come back from the dream world of summer and remember why I became a teacher in the first place. I gave myself time to explore my passions, redefine happiness, and learn more about myself. It was time I spent to reinvent myself so I could be the best person I could be by September. It was a time to relax, reflect, and regrow in order to embrace a new year of minds to guide towards success. Reality sinks in, but it always makes me stronger because my passion thrives for greatness.

Alas, here’s to another school year of inspiring our students to challenge themselves, believe in themselves, push themselves, and grow into the best academic scholars they can be. All teachers have the ability to spark their inner passion to create an atmosphere to not only allow kids to learn, but to grow into the best people they can be. We are not just teachers. We are mentors, we are listeners, and we are sometimes the only thing consistent in their lives. We are counselors, we are happiness, we are jokesters when they need a smile, and we are role models. The days aren’t always easy, but we should never forget why we decided to teach in the first place. If we can’t face a challenge every single day then how can we ask that of our students?

We must focus on the good so we can continue to strive for greatness. We must wear a smile on our faces to show that we are here for them because we care. We are here to guide them in engaging with the world around them and to continuously seek knowledge. We are here to spark curiosity and question the “how’s” and “why’s” in life. We are here to promote the values of self-worth and confidence. We are here for our students to lead them through the journey of life.

Teachers, you are important to their lives and you will make an impact on them. They will remember your name because you were that teacher that praised them. You were that teacher who always gave high fives. You were that teacher that always smiled. You were that teacher who never gave up on them. You were the teacher who said, “I believe in you” when no one else ever did. These are the reasons why we come back stronger each year. These are the reasons why when we say, “I am a teacher” that we can’t help but smile. We smile because we are proud of what we do. We smile more because when we tell people what we do, they smile too. They smile because they can think back when they were young, and how a certain teacher made an impact on them. Be that teacher.

Be the teacher who will make your students smile 10 plus years from now. Be the teacher that can motivate students to not just be willing to try, but have the will to always try. Install the fight for success and show them the strength to keep pushing forward. Be the teacher that allowed them to not only be comfortable in themselves, but love themselves. Be the teacher that makes his/her students a priority, not a task. All of these thoughts will hopefully allow you to find that smile. Maybe it’s a smile you’ve always had or maybe it is a smile that you haven’t felt in a while. I am writing this to help bring back that smile.

A teacher with a warm smile will allow for a welcoming invite into their classroom. A teacher with a warm smile will always hold some light to our students when they face dark days. A warm smile will allow students to feel safe and comfortable. Smiles can offer an emotional connection that seeks no need for words. It is just a sign to show that you are seen, you are known, and that you matter. A teacher with a warm smile is never forgotten. We can’t stop fueling our passion because with that we create the fire to inspire. So to all the teachers out there, if it is your first year, second year, tenth year, or thirtieth year, remember to wear that smile proudly. You are seen, you are known, and you matter. Smile proudly because we know we are making a difference that will forever add up to total greatness. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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