As I was feeling exhausted, frustrated, and futile the other day, I asked myself why I go to work. In such desperate moments I can easily find myself answering first with many of the things I don’t go there for. I don’t go for a paycheck, because if I did I’m pretty sure I could get a fatter one with less effort and personal sacrifice. I don’t go so I can be yelled at by a child whose home life is lacking or by a parent who really just loves their child and feels misunderstood. I don’t go to watch my peers have physical symptoms because they are so concerned about a student, and I surely don’t go so I can use my education degree (read NOT finance) to solve financial shortcomings created by far-away politics that punish and deprive. I certainly don’t go so I can watch kids cry during a high-stakes test or to send them home when the attention they so crave drives them to anti-social or dangerous behavior. And I really don’t go so that I can kiss my own kids and wife goodbye before they wake up and hope to be home before their last bite of dinner. None of that stuff I do each day is why I go.
The reason why I go is because, unlike most people, I don’t have to say I’m going to work. I get to say, I’m going to school! I get to see huge, yellow buses roll up and unload lines of smiles and high fives. I get see kids’ change over the months from passive recipients of knowledge to active engagers in learning. I get to hug when a grandparent has died over the weekend and polish new trophies won in recent events. I get to see teachers laughing with kids, in a relationship that can only happen in a classroom. When I feel exhausted, frustrated, and futile, I get to go to school and be with kids, who are really the coolest form of humanity on earth. They make things not feel so futile.