A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.
Trust the Greeks (ancient ones, that is) to come up with brilliant and beautiful metaphors. As I think about going back to school in a week and a half, I am reminding myself that I am “planting trees” through my students. That I will not sit in the “shade” of those trees has never bothered me. When I started teaching I was told by many older, more experienced teachers that teaching was rewarding, but that information was always offered with a sort of wry look and a verbal irony that belied the cynicism that takes many teachers who’ve lost their passion.
Along the way I’ve met a great number of other teachers, not all of them teaching in a school, who’ve reminded me why I went into teaching in the first place. I teach because I love teaching, but more than that, I enjoy watching other people learn. I like that moment when I can practically see the neurons firing, the synapses connecting for that brief second when learning happens. The “ah-ha!” moment.
I teach students, not a subject. And I’ve got a job to do.