Finding Your Purpose As A Teacher

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Joaquin y sus 9 mesesFinding Your Purpose As A Teacher

by Terry Heick

You’re no longer just an English teacher. Or math, science, or any other content area. If you’re going to make it through this teaching thing, you’ve got to be more than that.

Let’s start with your name. Good. That was easy.

Now, what is one thing you feel supremely qualified to teach other people? This should be in stated in only a few words. Critical thinking. How to communicate. The elegance of architecture. Living through music. How to read. You don’t have to be an expert here, you just have to love it deeply. And answer honestly.

Now, who should you do this kind of work for? Who needs to understand this, almost as a matter of life and death? Whose life won’t be the same without it? Who do you feel most natural and engaged around? There’s your audience.

Next, what exactly do these people want or need? How will you need to “package” and deliver this gift you feel supremely qualified to teach? If you’re qualified to “give” it, this part has to reflect that.

How are they going to change as a result?

Now, put it all together in one sentence.

There’s your purpose.

You may teach High School English, and see that it makes more sense to teach struggling readers in middle school.

You might be an administrator, and realize you were never happier than when you taught 2nd grade.

Or, you might find you’re exactly where you need to be, and a statement like this can help clarify your mission. The video below–a TED talk from Adam Leipzig–is worth a few minutes of your time.

Image attribution flickr user libertinus; Finding Your Purpose As A Teacher