A few months ago, a student from my alma mater called me to ask if I’d donate to the university. He then asked me if he could update my profile information. The next sentence was one that often leaves me frustrated (if uttered by a non-educator), or baffled (if declared by a teacher). He asked me, “Are you still just a teacher?” I told him that I was an educational consultant, but that phrasing the question like that was extremely disrespectful and that he wouldn’t gain many donations from educators using that line. He was properly apologetic, but this is not a one-time occurrence. How often have you heard a teacher say, “Oh, I’m just a teacher,”? That immediate discredits the mountainous work teachers do daily, and the impact they make.
What does it mean to be just a teacher?
It means you serve others.
It means you impact numerous lives every single day you walk into a classroom.
It means you believe in the power of learning.
It means you are a lifelong learner.
It means you may be the only loving adult in some child’s life.
It means you are investing in our future through the children you teach.
It means you teach people to explore, think, and question.
You are a counselor, mentor, nurse, and friend.
You are a strong, soft, loving, funny, and engaging.
You encourage risk-taking, learning from mistakes, and support the struggles of learning.
Great teachers embody all of these characteristics and so much more. These are the people who teach because it’s in their heart to open the minds of the students they are blessed enough to teach. They will never be “just” a teacher.