On Twitter this week, I came across #LoveTeaching. Educators are encouraged to write why they love teaching, why they became a teacher, or what keeps them teaching, and to share the love by sending it out on a social media platform this week. Now that sounded like a challenge for me! What better way to kick off Valentine's Day then reflecting on my love of teaching?

Infographic found at: http://goo.gl/bHZNNn

The Past

I was one of those kids who knew that they would grow up to be a teacher. I come from a family of teachers, going back three generations. When I played 'pretend' as a kid, I always played 'School' and you can guess who the teacher was. My Barbie dolls were not fashion icons, but students heading to school in their Jazzercize outfits and ball gowns (naturally). My elementary teachers confirmed my goal. The care and attention they paid to each one of us never went unnoticed. They made us feel special and taught us to work hard and be proud of our accomplishments. While a few teachers certainly stand out in my mind, my entire elementary school experience really propelled me to follow my dream of becoming a teacher.

The Present

I've worked in a few different roles as an educator, and my reason for loving teaching always, always, always comes back to the students. Teaching is a hard job, not too many people would argue that, but the students make every late night or weekend work session worth it. 

Although I am no longer an English teacher, it was in that role that I first connected with my students the most. Reading their reflections, connections, and inquiries, listening as they participated in class discussions to form and justify opinions, watching as they took leadership roles in literature circles, group projects, and presentations, and learning as I watched them find themselves through each of these activities. 

Today, in my work as a 6-8 Media Specialist, I've found that it is still always the students that advance me forward as an educator. I am constantly looking for what are things that the students would like to read, how can I help the students to use technology safely and creatively, and what activities will help the students to grow. It is my on-going mission to continue to grow and adapt to meet their needs and to ensure that they always have a comfortable, engaging, active learning experience when they step into the Media Center. Our Makerspace is just one example of how I've tried to create such an environment and experience.

The Future

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."
-Steve Jobs

This year, as an educator, I have tried to step outside my comfort zone more and expand my PLN in an effort to become a better educator. Blogging and Twitter have been incredible sources of reflection, inspiration, and growth for me in that journey. It is through these platforms that I learned about Makerspaces, Genius Hour, GAFE tips, useful apps, new books, conferences, and more. I have ventured into this world truly so I could continue to grow as an educator to meet the needs of the students. I want to continue to find new ways to connect them, help them to feel engaged, inspired, free to explore, and to find a love of learning in their own way. In making choices for the Media Center, Makerspace, and other activities, I will continue to make sure that it is always with the students' best interests in mind. I will talk with them and learn from them to see what they need and what they want. I want them to #lovelearning as much as I #loveteaching. 

When it comes down to it, I bet when you ask most educators why they #loveteaching, the answer is really always going to be the students. In what other job do you get to spend so much time with people who challenge you to be your best, and get to watch them grow right before your eyes? 

How could you not love working with students who write a rhyming poem about you during a poetry unit? 

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