Why I Teach…

When I was a kid I had trouble sleeping throughout the night. I’d wake about midnight and since the household was asleep, I’d play “school” in the livingroom. If it was a Friday or Saturday night I would wake my little sister so that we could go through the entire school day – getting all the dining room chair in rows like a bus, and then rearranging the room to a classroom.It was fun to play teacher and student. My sister didn’t always participate, so I’d play teacher to Rocky, our big German Shepard.. He was the best student.

My parents were teachers – both at home and in the classroom – and I swore I’d choose a different field. A friend inspired me into taking the education classes in college and pretty soon, I was hired to teach English at my former high school on the Navajo Nation. I have countless stories of students and experiences that have kept me in the classroom. I am inspired by students, by my parents, and by colleagues.  I am blessed.

But I must admit that just because I feel it is “natural,” I have at times, several times, sometimes even seasons when I wasn’t sure I was meant to be a teacher. I can look back and see those moments are times when I was in doubt, but I go through the motions because I know that passion will return. The “motions” are greeting my students, creating lesson plans, and grading papers, but it’s part of the journey of teaching. Those moments – rare, but not unheard of – cause me to reflect on my purpose because it changes.

I teach because I am amazed at the knowledge students possess and I learn from them. It seems selfish, but my students knowledge challenge me to be a facilitator. I also like Jen’s list on her latest post … it reminds me of why I teach too.


Delyssa Begay

DeLyssa Begay

Many Farms, Arizona

I belong to the Black Sheep People. My clan is my mother’s, and my father’s is One-Who-Walks-Around People. I am granddaughter to the Bitter Water and Red-Streak-into-Running Water Peoples. That’s mouthful, but it is my identity.

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