I took a walk this afternoon and decided to post an email I got a week ago.
My purpose in writing this post is to encourage anyone who might be considering teaching as a career. Surely anyone who thinks about teaching as a life's work is going to run into a flurry of uninvited discouraging comments.
I staggered through plenty of discouragement when I was chose to be a teacher, and that was a LONG time ago.
There is no need for me to repeat all the reasons why teaching is a tough job. I know it's tough. And yes, if after twenty years of teaching, your kids want to go to college, you'll probably end up having to work a second job or to start a moonlight business. (I'm speaking, here, from personal experience.)
Teaching, like any art, is a calling. Like any art, teaching has intrinsic rewards. You might just touch the future.
For example, this email*, printed below. It's talking about a CD that I give as a gift over the winter holiday break, a disc that includes the Deeply Beautiful song I posted yesterday.
Hi Dan:*edited slightly to preserve the anonymity of its author
I just wanted to say thank you so much for the CD that you gave to the kids at Christmas time. You deserve to know how much love and happiness it has brought to our family. It started with me and the kids rocking out to it on Saturday mornings. Next it became a cornerstone to our drives to and from school. It never failed to change the low energy on the way to and from school. I absolutely loved that. Later, it became captive to my mom in her car…. And she was very reluctant to give it up. Now, that I have it back….. I have become addicted to repeating the songs over and over and over, yes, even when I’m riding solo.
It’s my new Bob Marley…. Really. The kids have quickly caught on to my addiction, and they are loving it as much as I. I’ve been struggling with my grandfather who’s been very sick in San Diego. Many of my Tuesday’s lately have been catching a 5 AM plane down there to get a 4 PM flight back in order to make it back for my 6 PM class. Your CD reminds me to keep my energy up, and to not let me own struggles affect the energy of others – especially my kids.
Can’t tell you enough, how many times it has been your CD that has kept it all in perspective for me. Not just your CD, but my favorite part of my day is walking into your classroom with you and your guitar. It melts me to the ground when I hear you sing the song, This Little Light of Mine….. it was my grandmother’s favorite.
My daughter and I have many, many great memories singing Bob Marley’s song, Three Little Birds together. When you sing that song it takes her to a very happy place. Last summer we would share my iPod to that song as we walked across campus, singing at the top of our lungs while no-one else could hear the music…. Just us.
Anyhow, sometimes we do things our way, it’s just part of who we are. And we have no idea how much it means or affects others. So I just wanted you to know how much we cherish all the good, happiness and love that you offer to everyone.
If anything was learned in Kindergarten, that is the most valuable lessons I think that anyone can learn. And by starting school with that great energy, I know that S. will carry through her lifetime.
Thank you for being such an amazing person.