Why did you become a teacher? Why do you get up every day and go work with children? I went into teaching because I wanted to make the same kind of connections with students as Miss Serk did for me. She was my 3rd grade teacher and made me feel special. She went out of her way to make sure my dad could read to me. She worked with the State Library to get children’s books and chapter books in large print so we could have reading time together. I was a struggling learner and she knew I needed more practice. Unfortunately she is the only teacher that I feel understood me. Most of my teachers saw me as that student that was not going to go anywhere in life and treated me that way. In most classrooms I felt stupid and like I could not learn. Not in Miss Serk’s class. I was learning in her class and felt valued. As teachers we need to refocus on Why We Do What We Do, and make those connections.
The first time I felt smart and that I could truly learn anything was in college when two professors took me under their wing and helped me learn some of the writing and grammar I did not learn in school. I struggled in school and did not cause problems in class so I was passed from year to year. Teachers didn’t help me learn, they felt I could not learn so they just moved me from grade to grade, she did the best she could do. When I was tested in college it was determined that I was writing at the 3rd grade level and that there was a huge discrepancy in different categories of my IQ. So I was diagnosed with a Learning Disability with Syntax. I had two professors Dr. Cutler and Dr. Good that took the time to work with me every week to improve my writing skills. I CAN LEARN, so can your students don’t give up on them. Refocus why you are doing this and help students, all students feel connected with school and learning. That connection might be drama, reading, technology, coding, verbal, every student is different. I know we are one person but in the 13 years of public education I can say that I made that connection with only 2 teachers, the other teacher was a high school geography teacher.
I would love to hear why you teach? And how you help students connect with learning and school.
Brenda Hauff can be contacted at: