Teachers Campaign to Recover Love of Teaching

2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb interacts with a student.

2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb interacts with a student.

I learned a tough lesson my first year in the classroom – left to its own devices, my mind would focus with laser precision on my mistakes. Instead of celebrating the things that went well, I’d find myself sitting at my desk after dismissal stewing over a lackluster explanation, some mishandled mischief, or poor planning.

It’s good to be critical. It’s natural. In the big picture, it’s how we as humans evolved over the years. We’re the descendants of those cunning enough to survive long enough to have descendants themselves. But as a teacher, with all the challenges we face every day, an unchecked critical eye can become defeating.

A few weeks into that first year, I bought a fat stack of Post-it notes and started spending the first 10 minutes after school jotting notes to kids who had a good day, made a contribution, or conducted themselves with kindness. I chose to focus on the good, and it did me a world of good, too.

Last year I found myself, and many of my friends, caught up in the tempest surrounding the teaching profession. From viral resignation letters, to magazine covers, to court cases, our vocation seemed to be in everyone’s crosshairs. And for many, those narratives crowded out the joys, the laughs, the hard-fought victories, and the heart-wrenching challenges that give us such a deep love for teaching.

So last February a few friends and I decided to try to shine a light on our love for teaching. We asked our friends to join in. We also asked a few organizations to participate in the project. Those who were asked connected with others and pretty quickly there was a full-on campaign united by the #LoveTeaching hashtag. There were Twitter chats, and school “photo booths” and a flood of tweets and posts and pictures and blogs. Even Secretary Arne Duncan posted a video to say thank you and talk about what he loved about teachers. In the end, five million people interacted with the campaign—because, for all its challenges, there’s just so much to love about teaching.

This year, until Monday, Feb. 22, teachers – and friends – across the country are invited to join the #LoveTeaching campaign. I’ve used it as an opportunity to share a story about a student who changed my life. A Kentucky English teacher put together a list of twenty reasons she loves her work. What’s your story? Search the hashtag to gain inspiration from others, or just jump on and join in the love.

The teachers I admire start their day by thinking how they can do better for students. I urge you to take the opportunity to pause and remember the kids and colleagues, the personal champions and persistent challenges that make us #LoveTeaching.

Sean McComb is a high school English teacher in Baltimore, Maryland, and was the 2014 National Teacher of the Year.

4 Comments

  1. I am a library media specialist at a blended state funded and federally funded preschool. I love my job, and I love working each day with teachers and students to create authentic learning experiences. I love that I can sing a song with every lesson, make funny character voices, code robots, and help develop young inventors through hands on projects. I have the best job ever!

  2. Great Article!

    I am an Adjunct Finance Professor at Miami Dade College and have been engaged in financial literacy education since 2000. Every semester, I have an opportunity to hopefully help in the development of our future society.

    I often feel that I get more out of my students, than they get from me. When my thoughts merge with those of my students’, teaching becomes a truly magical expirience. It is at this powerful point in time that the students become engaged, and the highest volume of knowledge is exchanged.

    Maybe one day, I will be able to teach for a living and dedicate my life to education.

    Sincerely ,
    Raymar Rodriguez
    @MiamiRaymar

  3. I love teaching because I believe in the power of connection, and our students need to connect with all kinds of people, form all kinds of places, for all kinds of reasons. They deserve teachers who will challenge them to see not only their own potential, but the potential of human beings as a whole, and individually.

  4. I absolutely love this blog. I am a former teacher. I found teaching to be the most honored profession on the planet. After teaching for 27 years the fun stopped not because of the students, but because of the bureaucracy. Developing/molding young lives and to see them take that which teachers share with them to make them productive citizens is priceless. Teachers should be the most honored professional on the planet. Pause for a moment and imagine a world without teachers. I would say to all teachers pat yourselves on the back, love your job, although you might feel unappreciated at times. Teaching is about uplifting children, sharing knowledge, inspiring children, enjoying them sharing back. It is salient to understand you are the MVP’s in children’s lives along side their parents or guardians. Love teaching!

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