THE BLOG

#Teaching Is...Complicated

05/01/2015 11:32 am ET | Updated Jun 30, 2015

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What is teaching to me? At this moment, #TeachingIs annoying, aggravating, frustrating, and exhausting. Today #TeachingIs Isabelle walking into my classroom saying, "Do we have to do work today?" It's Cece falling asleep twice at her desk. It's Jose crying in the hallway. It's Brad telling me he hates school and wants to drop out. It's Marla hitting her fourth absence and failing.

Today, #TeachingIs 12 new initiatives I have to implement in my classroom. It's a parent asking me to change a policy to favor his child. Today, #TeachingIs a politician telling me that poverty doesn't matter and that it's my fault that all my students can't hit a benchmark on the same day of the same week of the same year.

Today #TeachingIs listening to a teacher at a wealthy prep school tell me that I can't recognize "academic talent" because I teach in a low-income, urban school. It's having two AP students miss my class to take an experimental test that has yet to be validated as an assessment.

But that's just today. #TeachingIs my passion. It's not always easy, but it is what I've chosen to do with my life. It is challenging, never boring, and it can be so rewarding.

Tomorrow, I'll see that #TeachingIs having an AP student tell me she's earned a scholarship to my alma mater, where she'll major in education. It's one of my credit recovery students writing a college-level feminist criticism. Tomorrow, #TeachingIs receiving donated front-row tickets for my students to see Pippin the Musical. It's having an insightful and intellectual discussion about race in my sophomore class.

Tomorrow, I'll see that #TeachingIs Isabelle telling me that I turned her into a reader. It's Brad earning an A in my English class. It's Cece bringing her grade up from a D+ to a B+. It's Brittany playing the guitar on stage after learning how to play in my Future Teachers Program. Tomorrow, #TeachingIs Danielle's mother bringing me flowers for helping with her daughter's financial aid appeal letter.

Tomorrow, I'll find that #TeachingIs seeing a Tweet from Jordi to another student, describing my AP class as "life-changing." It will be laughing so hard with my colleagues that I nearly trip and fall. Tomorrow, #TeachingIs segueing a reading of the play Fences into a lesson on the dangers of credit card debt. It's finding Jason a job and Devin a spot at Year Up.

Tomorrow, #TeachingIs being understood, valued, appreciated, and respected. Tomorrow, I'll see that #TeachingIs finding out that Mareike, my German colleague, will visit my classroom in June. It's being given a chance to be a teacher leader as part of the Teacher Leadership Initiative and discovering my Capstone project has had a positive impact on students in my school. It's seeing teachers honored for their hard work and contributions by everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to the Global Teacher Prize.

At the end of the day, I'm often exhausted because #TeachingIs a tough and tiring job. But I also know it's the best one I could ever have. I appreciate every day I'm given a chance to experience what #TeachingIs.

Join me and thousands of other teachers and parents across the nation this Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8) by sharing what #TeachingIs to you on the social media platform of your choice. Share your stories, photos, videos, and more using the hashtag.