Today I had one of those class periods I think all teachers dream of. Every single thing I planned just worked. Students were engaged, interactive, asking questions, collaborating, and--I don't think this is wishful thinking on my part--even enjoying the work.
At the end of class I walked back to my office doing an internal happy-dance-of-joy thinking, "I get to do this!" As in, "this is my job, but I feel like I am completely fulfilling my calling in this work!"
It's interesting for me to think about this. I'm generally a positive person, and I generally love my work as a teacher. This has been true at almost every point in my career. And, honestly, the times in my professional life where I felt like "I have to..." instead of "I get to!" were usually more about the paperwork, or external mandates, or friction with colleagues, or times I had messed up and had to make things right with a person I had hurt. Those things can definitely suck the joy out, for me at least. But working with students? Seeing them master a new concept, or even struggle their way through to developing that understanding is always a joy for me, and it never gets old.
I view my work as a teacher as a calling. I believe that I am called to serve, and the place I happen to be serving right now is the college classroom, teaching future teachers. I believe I have been equipped for this work, and I am fully using the gifts and talents I have been given. And maybe it's because I'm in this place, professionally, where I feel well-equipped because of my background, experiences, and education to serve faithfully--and even successfully. It's easy to feel "I get to!" in this kind of a setting!
Teachers, how are you feeling? Are you feeling like you "get to" work with your students, to help them grow and develop, to support their learning? Or are you feeling like you "have to?"
What will it take for you to move to "get to?"