What is teaching to you?

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. While I’m definitely looking forward to the dessert buffet that my administrators will provide in celebration of my peers and me, this year I’m hoping for a more meaningful celebration of all the amazing teachers I interact with every day.

So how might this happen? How can we celebrate the thousands of men and women who commit themselves to serving our nation’s children and, in doing so, work daily to make the world a better place?

For starters, we can begin by acknowledging how complex teaching actually is.

Teaching is art. Teaching is science. Teaching is joy. Teaching is struggle. Teaching is growth. Teaching is life.


Teaching is crying with students as we listen to Vietnam veterans share their stories, and then going back to the classroom to debrief historical concepts that now have new meaning given the context of real human experiences.

Teaching is celebrating when the student who struggled all year to engage with the books we are reading in class finds a book that he can connect with and begins to choose other texts that feed his newfound interests.

Teaching is pushing students to do more than they think they can do and providing support for them along the way.

Teaching is partnering with parents to make sure that the student who fell ill at the beginning of the semester is able to meet school standards and earn the credit she so desperately needs. Teaching is celebrating when she gets there.

Teaching is letting down your guard enough to show students that they should never be ashamed of having a passion for learning, or any of the other special things that make them one-of-a-kind.

Teaching is acknowledging that the world is made of unique people who approach learning in different ways. Teaching is looking for ways to help all those different learners learn.

Teaching is planning, instruction, grading, providing feedback, and helping others.

Teaching is when all of these things work together in perfect harmony… and also when they don’t.  Because rather than giving up, teaching is persevering on behalf of the learners in your classroom.

As we go into a week dedicated to celebrating all that teaching is, join educators everywhere in sharing what teaching is to you. All next week, teachers will be sharing their stories and ideas on Twitter, Facebook, and in our blogs using the hashtag #TeachingIs.

Let’s give the world a better understanding of our craft, profession, and passion so they can truly appreciate what teachers do and what #TeachingIs.

Teachers know that teaching is not easily defined. As we celebrate teachers and all that they do, let’s celebrate one another by sharing what teaching is to each of us. Let’s give the world a better understanding of our craft, profession, and passion so they can truly appreciate what teachers do and what #TeachingIs.

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