Why I Stay

Maybe a month or so ago, Beth Shaum asked me and some other teachers to share with her why we stay in education.  She told us that she wanted to put a video together for her Masters class explaining why some teachers stay despite the alarming number of teachers who leave the profession.  I shared my reasons, as did many other teachers, which she’s included in this powerful video:

I’ve been thinking about myself as a teacher, and the profession in general, since watching this video on Friday.  I’ll admit that since I started teaching I’ve thought about other career options.  I’ve thought about going back to work at Target.  I’ve thought about a job in the publishing world.  I’ve had many thoughts about other jobs I could have, but teaching is what I love.  It’s what I am.  I am a teacher.

But as much as I love teaching, it’s hard staying optimistic about my career.  It’s hard to hear so much hate spewed at and about teachers.  It’s hard to try and find my way as a teacher when I’m feeling stifled by Common Core and “common assessments” and ACT/MME prep.  It’s hard to feel confident in what I’m doing when I’m constantly worrying if I’m failing my students because I’m not throwing countless worksheets at them.  When I’m not doing mind-numbing drill-n-kill exercises.  When it doesn’t seem normal to think outside the box.  When I’m questioned for offering so much independent reading time.  Multiple times throughout the week, throughout the day, I feel like I’m not doing enough for my students.  I don’t think I’d feel this way so often if teachers were more respected and allowed to have more autonomy.  If we were trusted.

And yet I stay.  I stay because…

  • I am a teacher through and through.
  • I watched my sophomores give fabulous research presentations this week that ended with thoughtful discussions and questions, all led by them.
  • Students visit me just to say hello and tell me how much they miss my class.
  • I’m creating a literacy-rich environment that’s moving beyond my classroom.
  • I have a LOT to learn, but I also have much to offer.
  • I like to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Other teachers are following my lead.
  • My Twitter PLN inspires me every day.
  • I may not often receive thanks for what I do, but my students thank me in their own way regularly.
  • “Mrs. Andersen turned me into a reader.”
  • “You explain stuff better and I actually understand it.”
  • “Really, this class is hard and a lot of work, but you make it feel like it’s not.”
  • “Are you going to get *insert book title here* when it comes out?”
  • Students need passionate teachers.
  • Students need teachers who will inspire them.
  • I want to become a stronger teacher.
  • Watching my students grow as learners and people makes my heart swell.


  1. So sad I forgot to do this for Beth – what a powerful video. Shared it on my personal FB hoping my AEA UniServ director will share it with everyone as well.

    Go BETH!!!

  2. Wow, that video so moved me and am sharing on Facebook. A high school teacher changed my life. She saw that I was a writer and told me so. Until then, it was a dream that I kept to myself — she said it out loud and that was all it took. Where would I be without her? I am so grateful for what you and other teachers do — I know its not enough — but THANK YOU.

  3. Mrs. Andersen says:

    Thanks for sharing the video, Crys and Christina!

  4. Thanks for sharing! So true!!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. Breaks my heart when I hear great teachers facing so many challenges. You’re needed so much by so many — you may not always hear it, but believe me, it’s true!! xo

  6. I’ve been thinking about this video all weekend, too, and am thinking a out how to say all I want to say in response. I think you’ve been inside my head. You capture so eloquently my feeling about being torn between staying and leaving. I am a teacher, but it seems so many forces want me to abandon that role to be nothing more than a data chaser. As always, it’s the kids who keep me going.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      The kids keep me going. I so wish I could stay in my room and not let all of the outside negativity enter. They’re the ones who matter.

  7. Bravo, Sarah!

I love comments!

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