Kids are and always will be what great teachers live for. Their smiles are an antidote to a bad day, and their progress is an unending source of satisfaction. Without exception, all teachers spoke effusively of their love for children and commitment to their learning progress.
"I still can not get used to how much my heart soars with every student's success, and how a piece of my heart is plucked away when any student slips away."Delissa L. Mai, 9th grade, Wyoming
"You can never go home without a smile on your face when you teach kids. I was always beaming at the end of the day. And it was so inspirational each morning to see that the kids were excited to be back at school. I would meet their buses and they would be making happy faces to me against the bus windows. Their love is unconditional."Christopher D. Markofski, kindergarten, Washington
"There is nothing like the look in a child's eye when you reassure them that you, too, lost your library book, or that you also felt sad and alone when your parents got divorced. Another joy is hearing `Hey, look at my story now. I'm using capitals and periods.' One of my jobs is being a source of building self-esteem in a child. This gives more satisfying prestige than any other that could be earned. For me, my greatest sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction comes from seeing my students comfortable with who they are and eager to embrace the world around them." Terra N. Hess, 1st grade (inclusive), California "How do I do justice in explaining a profession which possesses every possible high and low in the array of human emotion? If you will, close your eyes and imagine the sound of eight prepubescent voices screeching, `OOOOOhhhh, I get it!' How does anyone but a teacher know the thrill of hearing and seeing the `light of understanding?' Is it possible that anyone understands what it's like to finish reading Tuck Everlasting only to look up and see a pair of eyes, glossy and on the verge of tears? Has anybody outside of teaching every bothered to ask kids, `What do you think?' Nobody knows what it's like to be put on center stage, after reading Nightjohn when a child sincerely asks, `Why are people racist?' How many people ask themselves at 3 p.m. on Monday, `Why in the world am I doing this?' and at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday they can answer their own question with a smile? Nobody knows the pride I have when I talk to old friends and rather than saying, `I have a job,' I say with delight, `I am a teacher!' It's so much more than a job, it's an awakening."Stuart D. Chandler, 5th grade, Colorado
"The kids, they made it all worthwhile. One boy was my guardian angel to make sure that I survived. He would say, `I really liked your class.' I expected hints of that feeling, but hearing it and feeling it are different things. The emotion was unbelievable when the children left." Thomas R. Leinheiser, 3rd grade, Alabama