Why I Teach

02.12.16 | Learning on the EDge | 1 Comment


I teach because I see kids who aren’t getting enough. Whether their education is limited due to restricted resources at school, family issues, or other circumstances, I know that I can help provide what they’re missing.

I grew up in a community where our basic needs were met, and I had all the opportunities possible to find success. After graduating from a college in a similar community, I immediately began working in a rough, poverty-stricken town. Seeing the challenges of drugs, gangs, and hunger that students face daily, I knew I could help. I have always made it my goal to provide the same opportunities for my students that I had and to use their unique strengths to push them toward achievement.

I know that I don’t have all the answers, but no one does. If someone did, then the education system in place would be perfect. Instead, I focus on what I can do to make a difference. When I first started teaching, music was my vehicle to reach students. As a band director, I shared my passion for the arts and tried to enhance the lives of my students through that medium. Now, I have a classroom that’s focused on at-risk students, where I can individualize my efforts to meet the specific needs of each student. No matter what my classroom looks like now or what it looked like when I first started, I’ve always kept in mind that I’m improving the lives of my students. Knowing that things are even just a little better for them because of what I did that day while they were in my classroom is enough to keep me going, day by day. That’s why I teach.


About Chris Graves

CHRIS GRAVES is a Rebound teacher at Northside Middle School, Columbus, Ind. This column was originally published in Educational Horizons, April-May 2011.

Comments on Why I Teach

  1. Tometi John Armau says:

    That’s touching. I have a similar experience with my Junior High School students in Ghana. I teach Maths and growing up, I realised Maths is interesting but was taught with canes that tend to put fear in students. To change the lives of student in the area of Maths, I try to forge more closer bonds with the students and to change the classroom environment to make it more relaxed so that they could express themselves better. It’s always good to make an impact in the lives of people.

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