The first question asked when I was interviewing for my teaching job was, “Why do you want to be a teacher?” It’s an extremely important question, because sooner or later, you’re going to second guess your choice. It’s not just teaching, it happens in any career. It’s hard to do the same thing for 40 years straight.
To quote the great movie Keeping the Faith:
The truth is you can never tell yourself there is only one thing you could be… You cannot make a real commitment unless you accept that it’s a choice that you keep making again and again and again.
To be truthful, I’m doing teaching for me. I’m not doing it because it’s the right thing to do, I’m doing it because I want to feel good at the end of the day. I want to know that my life is helping others. I’ve only got one life and I’m not going to spend it doing things that make me unhappy.
With all that being said, it’s good to list out the reasons why I want to teach. Here they are, in no particular order.
- Make a difference that I can see. Yes, there are really good websites out there that change peoples lives and I hope to build a few of them over my lifetime. But being able to directly have an impact on someone’s life is something I definitely look forward to.
- Bring web development education up to speed. Ask web developers and they’ll agree, there is a growing gap between what schools are teaching and what the industry is demanding. By taking it to the High School classroom, I hope to get students thinking early about writing accessible, maintainable code that makes lives easier.
- Look forward to Mondays. I believe that you should look forward to Mondays.Too often we get stuck in a rut and start dreading our working hours. We only have a short time on Earth, don’t waste it.
- Teach skills that go beyond the classroom. I’ve only taken two web development courses my entire life, one in High School and one in College. While these classes were informative and shaped the way I became a developer, they were only responsible for 10% of what I know about web development today. The rest I’ve learned from technology books, online tutorials, discussion forums and hands-on experience, all independent of an academic environment. I did it because I loved it. If I can give the students the skill and confidence to learn happily on their own, they suddenly control their future.They’ll be happier, more motivated and more satisfied with their career choice because they’ll have found something that makes them happy.
- Get students excited to come to school. If the students find web development half as awesome as I find it, they’ll be more motivated to make it to classes because they’ll know they’ll learn something interesting in my class.
- Address the social and economic impact of the Internet. Let’s face it, the internet is changing lives for the better (and sometimes the worse). Whether it be the way businesses communicate or the creation of virtual communities, the future needs to think about these changes.
- Teach future web developers the ideas that will advance the web, not hold it back.
So there you have it, why I want to teach.