By SAVANNAH BERRY
HEALDSBURG HIGH SCHOOL, SENIOR, 17
The words “being a teacher would suck” are too frequent on the lips of students. Teachers may appear to be underpaid and overworked, but not every teacher shares this view. And, as everyone knows, when one truly loves his or her work, it is not work.
Teachers are in a league of their own when it comes to the type of work they experience. They are not finished when their shift ends, there are no time cards or tip jars. Teachers work in and outside of the classroom grading papers and creating lesson plans. They have the freedom to develop methods of teaching unique to their character and are able to meet students’ needs in any way they see fit. They are not stuck behind a desk or glued to a phone or computer all day; they deal with faces, but not just any faces, youthful faces. There are behavioral problems occasionally, but when a teacher does their job right, the classroom is a dynamic exchange with intelligent discussion of ideas and solutions to problems absent from many adults’ lives who are estranged from this exciting, educational setting.
To become a teacher means earning a teaching credential, which is one-year program after a four-year bachelor’s degree, including a year of student teaching, experience in the classroom.
The advantages of being a teacher outweigh the disadvantages by a landslide. Healdsburg High School teachers have plenty to say about it.
When Mike Efram was asked why he is obviously one of the jolliest teachers on campus, he responded, “I get to work with amazing students.” The job may seem repetitive, teaching the same course every year, but he said every class is truly a different experience. He loves the dynamic classroom setting and the creation of his own daily lesson plans. “I am my own boss,” he remarked.
No one tells him how to teach; he has the freedom to teach in his own way. Joe Diorio enjoys the freedom to design a learning environment; he decorates and organizes his room so that his methods of teaching are effective, such as his ability to display the Internet to his class, project his calculator onto his TV, and employ the use of nifty “clickers.” Efram also commented on how lucky he is to have summer vacation as well as the same holiday breaks as his children. He is a family man and it is essential he has time with his children. Diorio values the vacations, too; he has copious amounts of time to indulge in surfing, his passion.
Brent Mortensen’s initial response as to why he is a teacher was, “I really like working with students.” He truly enjoys spending time with students, not only does it keep him young, but he has fun. He remarked how proud it makes him when a student can write better than him and perform better than him; it means he is doing his job. Justin Braider contributed that the best part for him is sharing enthusiasm for learning with the students. He loves the subjects he teaches and enjoys sharing that love with the youth. John Linker concurred, stating, “sharing literature with students” is the most rewarding aspect of being an English teacher. He also mentioned his excitement as he witnesses the growth of his students over the four years in high school.
“Parents and teachers are almost synonymous,” Braider piped in to agree. Teachers care for their students like their children and the progress their students make are a result of the time they dedicate to them.
Diorio reflected on his past as a student. He recalled two teachers who significantly influenced his education, but then also plenty of teachers who he disapproved of. He aims to do far better than their efforts, prove that he can teach much more successfully than some of his worst teachers. Also, Diorio commented on the misconception that teachers do not earn a sufficient salary. He believes the amount of money he earns is plenty.
“I am 30, and I have bought a house,” he stated, quite satisfied. “I’m not eating Taco bell and living out of a dumpster!”
Although, as Mortensen declared, teachers do not teach for the money, there are far greater rewards in this line of work than the salary.