OK I am not David Letterman, nor do I even watch David Letterman, but I did think that a "top ten" was appropriate for today.
I have thought about my job A LOT lately. As a person who has worked since she was 16, I can definitely say that I am one of those typical Americans who defines herself a bit by her career... No, I do not live to work, but I do believe I was created to be an educator and that as a job, it does define a large part of my character....and after 18 years in this field, I am still being defined because I am still learning....
10. Being an educator is not a "one time gig". If you do your job RIGHT, you continue impacting people even after they have left your classroom.
9. Teaching a literature class allows you to introduce texts and authors to students that they, like you did at one point in life, can fall in love with. And when some actually do fall in love with a story or with an author, it is the COOLEST THING to see!
8. I work in a place that, for a while, was "hard to break into" just because Danish culture is so different than what I am used to coming from Texas. However, I can honestly say that I FEEL LIKE A PART of the staff at Herning Gymnasium... and it does not matter that it took some time for that to happen. What matters is that it HAPPENED.
7. The Danish school system uses AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT.... no multiple choice, bubble in crap. REAL assessment of REAL students and their REAL skills.
6. I was selected yesterday as an "outside censor" for the written English exams this summer. This is the process used nationwide to assess the written exams. They are sent to an outside censor in that subject (from another gymnasium) and then after the censors grade them, we all meet in Odense for a day to discuss our assessments to ensure that the integrity of the process AND of the exam has been maintained. It is awesome that I already get the chance to do this!
5. I work for people who TRUST the staff they have hired. Amazing concept, huh? Wonder if we could ever TEACH that concept to Rick Perry and his team in Austin?
4. I get to plan FANTASTIC LESSONS about FANTASTIC THINGS! Our curriculum is completely open when it comes to things like texts and methods! IT ROCKS!
3. I GET TO CHOOSE THE LITERATURE THAT I WANT TO USE to meet the criteria of our "læreplan" (teacher plan). No parents have to approve the texts. No principals have to read the texts. And no school board is going to tell me that because To Kill a Mockingbird has the "N word" in it, I cannot give it to my students to read. God, that is refreshing!
2. I work in a country that has a VERY FORWARD THINKING and VERY VISIONARY approach to education. It is REFRESHING that our decision makers are not only consistently thinking of ways to globalize our education, but they are supportive of ideas from staff that might be a bit different (or a lot different) from how "we've done it in the past". (Teachers in Texas will understand how utterly awesome this is!)
And the #1 reason I love my job:
1. I get to walk into a classroom every day and hang out with people who are (MOST days) glad to be there and who are willing to try whatever crazy things I throw at them. The reason I teach is because of the students and getting to do what I love in a place like Herning Gymnasium is, as we say in Texas, the GRAVY!