Why I (STILL) Teach?

Seriously, why does anyone still teach!?

There have been many great posts these past few weeks that answers the question, “Why I teach?” (You can see some on this site and also on www.storiesfromschool.org from our partners in Washington.)

However, I wonder why teachers continue teaching.  These feel like thankless times.  Teachers are now the bad guys.  We fail to achieve high test scores. We try and shove some unknown hidden agenda down the throats of our students. We unrightfully take away toys and electronics from our students.  We force students to show respect for people they disagree with.  (You can read about one “villain” here.) http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2010/11/purple_shirts_and_confederate_flags.html

With all of this attacking our profession and our credibility, why do we continue teaching? 

A large part of it for me is from the inspiration that I get from fellow educators.  I have seen many teachers work with integrity and hope.  They continue teaching with the belief that they will make a difference and that these struggles are only temporary.  I have had the privilege and pleasure to many inspiring teachers make an impact on my career. 

Caroline Sue Bowman from El Paso, TX taught me that you can make a difference in even the most unruly child. (I know because I was one of her unruly students.)

Gayle Kirkendall has helped me see that no matter how good you think you are at something, you can always try a new method or idea.  It might even be better.  Her flexibility and humility is out of this world. 

Sarah Baird has helped me learn that no matter the recognition that we receive, it is student achievement and learning that helps define our worth. 

Sandra Bigelow has helped to inspire in me a love of literature and reading and the adventures that these create for young people.

Brenda Kriedler has taught me the importance of making smart career decisions and to consider more factors other than “what I want at the moment”.

Kathy Weibke has helped me to see that I can stand up to this constant assault on public education and cause a positive change.

There are many other teachers that I could list here and many other mentors I have had but I don’t want ot type for another 4 hours!  Last summer, I had an interview with one of the top 3 hotel chains in the US.  I was considering going into corporate training. To be honest, I was considering it mainly for the money.  Before the interview occurred, I began to think about all of these teachers that have come in my life.  Could I really abandon them and leave them to this fight for Public Education? Besides, if I know this many quality educators already, how many more are out there?

 I decided to cancel the interview.  I want to continue to support teachers.  I want to continue to make a difference.  That is why I still teach! Why do you still teach?



Donnie Dicus

Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center.
I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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