This Valentine's Day weekend has been delightful so far.  My honey sent me a DELICIOUS Edible Arrangement to school for a surprise on Friday and we celebrated at our favorite BBQ joint down in the city - Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse.  If you're ever in Chicago, trust me, this is a must-eat.  Not, it's not downtown in the hubbub of the touristy things, but it's worth a little drive north!

But today I wanted to jump on the blog to share the love I have for teaching.  Honestly, this time of year can get really tiring and downright depressing, so I'm challenging myself to reflect on why I love this job (even though seriously, it's so cold every morning I wake up, all I want to do is STAY UNDER THE COVERS FOREVER).

1.  The Kids

This one is probably obvious, but they are always the ones that make my day.  Even when they're being a huge pain!  As most of you know, I teach 10th and 12th grade and at this stage in their lives, I feel like there are so many shaping, poignant moments that they endure and I love being someone that is either there for them personally or simply providing classwork that is inspiring, engaging, and challenging them to really think about the decisions they are making day in and day out.

2.  I'm My Own Boss

Let's ignore, for a moment, our principals, division heads, and the powers that be at Common Core and other institutions - most days, I relish the autonomy of my profession.  This is something that I need to remind myself of because I can take it for granted.  I get to be creative all the time and I think I'd die without that.  In so many other jobs, employees have their days scheduled by other people.  Teachers?  We decide how our lessons run and how our days are structured.  The more I remind myself of this the more I realize how important it is to use that power positively.  With the power to structure, I also have the power to shape the tone of the day - for better or for worse.

3.  My Team

I have to give a huge shout out here to my team!  I have the most amazing group of teachers that I get to work with, and they make my job even better.  These guys are so open to my crazy ideas and we are so good at supporting one another through the tough times with kids.  Our team invents and reinvents new lessons and units every year and refuses to settle for what worked last year.  Our kids are always different and we are always trying to make our content relevant and challenging for each new group of students.

4.  Building Community

Being part of a school is like being part of a family.  I've only worked at one school, so I guess I'm not sure if this applies everywhere, but my school treats me as one of their own.  I've taught siblings and sat through parent conferences with entire families through all of their children.  I get invited to quinceaneras and baby showers.  When I go to football games, there are hundreds of students and alumni that I know.  It's amazing how small the job can feel in my living room grading papers, and then how enormous it is when I count how many lives I've been able to be a small part of.

5.  The Stuff I Teach!

Finally, I have to celebrate my content.  I love teaching English.  In a given year, I get to cover everything from creative writing (fiction, poetry, screenwriting) to dystopian literature to service learning research projects vested in social justice and even a little Shakespeare.  And the icing on the cake?  Getting to use creative problem solving to make it allllll fit together.  It's a delicious journey and I'm so glad that I found my calling.

What do you love about teaching?  I hope to hear from you!

Amanda

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