A Love Letter to Teaching

By David McGuire

Here I am with some of my students.

Here I am with some of my students.

From the moment I walked into the classroom for the first time and had my students’ seats ready and all my pencils sharpened I knew this was real. At that moment I was in love.

A new challenge was ahead of me, but I was ready to tackle it.

I never dreamed of becoming a teacher, but I now dream of being the best I can be.

If I had not become a teacher, my life would have been so different. The joy I get for teaching is one that cannot be replaced or duplicated. I thought I would become a lawyer, but instead I became an advocate for children who really need me.

As a 24-year-old man I fell in love. It felt like meeting your soulmate. I felt complete.

It wasn’t always easy, but it was fulfilling. It did not come without regrets, but I wouldn’t do anything over.

Despite being the teacher, I was actually the student. I learned so much about myself —how to become a professional, how to commit to something greater than myself.

I've only been a teacher a short time, but I give it my all. In two different classrooms at two different schools I left everything in the classroom.

I never sought out individual accolades. I just wanted to earn the love and respect of my students. It wasn’t about standards and assessments.

My teaching was about teaching my students that education has the power to help them see beyond their current situation and dream of a future far brighter than the reality they live. I try to do that every single day no matter how I was feeling or no matter how hard the lesson.

But for me being a classroom teacher is not the end of the road. It is not the pinnacle for me. I dream of extending my reach of teaching outside of the classroom.

I want others to experience teaching as a joy.

My next goal will be bigger. I see myself as a principal who one day becomes a superintendent and leads a school district of exciting and passionate teachers. I see myself as a professor who teaches budding college students the power and impact they can have as a teacher. I see myself as an advocate for the profession that has given me so much.

This is what teaching has done for me; it has given me the ability to dream and dream big. Often times as kids grow older they are not allowed to dream big anymore, but teaching has showed me that you are never too old to dream big.

Teaching changed my entire perspective on life. I see life now as a way to give to others and to help others reach their greatest potential. I now find more joy in giving joy to others.

Often times in life we go through and never give thanks. Many times we give thanks when it is too late. I do not want to reflect on my teaching career 30 years from now when I retire. I want to reflect now and give thanks now while it is fresh and still feels new.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to join this prestigious profession. I promise to always be thankful and not matter what I do next in this profession I will never forget that I will always be a teacher.

To paraphrase an African proverb I once learned in school:

“Educate a child, you educate an individual. Educate a child to teach, you educate the future.”