Teaching is an Act of Willful Defiance

As I type this out, it is the night before another first day of school. The entire day I have felt a small tinge of anxiety. I usually have some feelings of trepidation about going in front of class and molding the minds of 28 impressionable youths. “What if I am not good?” “What if I say the wrong words?” “What if I upset one of my students before I really even get to know them?” “How will I stay interesting for 180 days?” Year in and year out, I grapple with these feelings of doubt and fear…

…yet I still go in front of the kids.

It is one of my firm educational beliefs that people who choose to go into teaching, do so because they want to “change the world.” Those visions of winning Educator of the Year awards, writing best selling books, or watching Hollywood make a biopic made about your work, may be on the minds of a few who enter into this field. But I firmly believe that when people decide that teaching is what they want to do, it is because they want to see the world changed.

To change the world as a twenty-something year old kid fresh out of college is an awfully large undertaking. Thinking back to my first year as a teacher, I know I could not be responsible for the world adapting to my thinking and my ways as an educator. Despite that feeling, I knew I wanted to see something change. Looking at the world around me there seems to be constant cry of “a lack of this” or “more of a need of that” and then it dawns on me that teachers want to change the world because it is in defiance of what they see in their world. Teaching is an act of love, yes, but in addition and probably most importantly…

Teaching is an act of willful defiance

K. Robinson c.2021

The chances of me changing the world are not incredibly high. But the chances of me changing my world is very high. While I may not have influence on what is happening all over the world, I can make positive change in my world, in my classroom community. And all people who take teaching as their job know that there is something in their world they feel can go unchanged no longer. Even when some people would rather keep the status quo, teachers act in willful defiance to that because they see something better in their world.

To my fellow educators getting ready to dive into a new year filled with even more uncertainty than years prior. To teachers who are preparing for another year into the unknown. Teachers who hear and see what is wrong in their world and are determined to buck the harmful trends. Understand, do not go gentle into this year. Rage against the norms of mediocre standards. Uproot anything that prevents your kids from being their best selves. Beat down the doors that lock knowledge away from your class. Shatter the glass ceilings that try to shelter your expectations. Love the kids, do the work, make sure to use your PTO. Here’s to another year behind the desk!

Take Care and Be Well!


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