Why I Teach

02.12.16 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments


The most frequently asked question teachers get is, “Why do you teach?” For me, the reasons are endless. I teach because it is so challenging. I teach math because I have always loved problem solving, and teaching is jam-packed with problem solving. I teach because it is the most effective and most enjoyable way to change the world. I teach because I want to inspire, motivate, and create successful students who are not only capable but confident and strong. I teach to help students discover their hidden talents and value their differences that make them stand apart from everybody else. I teach to build their confidence and develop their “I can do it” attitude. I teach to help students achieve academic success. I teach students to have fun in school and thirst for knowledge. I teach so that students know just how cool being smart truly is.

I love teaching math. I always have, and I always will. I love the challenge of taking apart a problem, dissecting its little pieces, and then putting them all back together again so that it makes sense. I especially enjoy helping students who dislike math realize the enormous role math plays in their everyday lives. They also realize that effective problem solving and strategizing will bring them great satisfaction and success. In this changing world, those who understand and use mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for shaping their futures. While mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures, a lack of mathematical competence keeps those doors closed. All students, regardless of their personal characteristics, backgrounds, or physical challenges, can learn significant mathematics with depth and understanding. There is no conflict between equity and excellence.

I teach to change lives. I teach because I feel that imparting knowledge is the noblest profession of all. That’s why I teach.


PEGGY BROOKINS is a National Board Certified Teacher and president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This column was originally published in Educational Horizons, January 2012.

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