I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

20 Reasons Why I'm Staying

...for another six years...

After the last two years of teaching being my most difficult so far (and I'm in Illinois - I can't imagine teachers in some other states!), I've noticed a lot of teachers announcing their resignations or retirements (due to so much I will not attempt to list here - if you're reading this, you most likely know the causes). I'm heading into year 28. I need to stay in teaching because there's really nothing else I can do at this point to receive this salary, and gosh darn it, I've worked hard to get here, and I believe I do a solid job of it. I have pushed myself to find - and list - some other reasons to stay in this profession for a few more years. I'm considering this a working document for myself.

I'm staying... because teachers DO work over the summer, and I've been preparing for this next school year, planning to make it better than the last (as usual).

I'm staying... so I have the funds to donate to those worse off than me, and to those causes I believe are worth it for the children I'm serving.

I'm staying... because I have no hidden agenda and I am confident I am NOT a "Marxist," "groomer," "indoctrinator," or "evil monster," so I need not be afraid of parents (mine and my students') who believe the picture some of the media and politicians paint about educators.

I'm staying... to be the person I want to be - one that tries to teach 12 year olds HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

I'm staying... to share some windows and mirrors through the pages of books.

I'm staying... to keep trying to prove to my students that what they have to say - and write - matters.

I'm staying... to role model how to slow down in order to work on word choice when communicating (esp. listening, speaking and writing).

I'm staying... to share with seventh graders what I'm learning alongside them - and from them.

I'm staying... because seventh graders never fail to make me laugh every day, and I hope I can help them smile each day, as well.

I'm staying... to keep trying to do what I believe is right for children, to try my hardest to be the role model and teacher I needed when I was their age, to show them that people care about them.

I'm staying... because I may be able to affect another teacher in a positive way that will affect their students for the rest of their time as a teacher.

I'm staying... because I feel some of my coworkers benefit from me being in their circle sometimes.

I'm staying... so I can stand up for children and educators who I feel are being mistreated, misrepresented, or misunderstood.

I'm staying... because there's always that one note from a child or a parent that boosts my optimism for another week or so - that one quick smile or laugh or piece of praise or gratitude that I latch onto because it makes me feel as if I'm doing SOMEthing right.

I'm staying... because this is one challenge I feel I can keep improving at. I know I'll never master how to teach, but I have always - and will continue to - plan on improving with each year.

I'm staying... because I still want to be part of the reason why I feel we have a fairly safe school. I want to be the one to make connections with children and help THEM make connections with each other - to help them to reach out to those who are isolated or shunned. And I have to say it - if I were to die at the hands of a former student from our school, at least I have no children of my own at home who would suffer.

I'm staying... because I've learned so much about how to care for my mental and physical health since the 2020-2021 school year, and last year I felt some success being able to leave most work AT work.

I'm staying... because my husband believes I still have so much to do, try, hear, experience... and because he knows I love my students.

I'm staying... because teaching used to be regarded as a very important profession to be in, and I want to make sure my next six years are valuable to the students in my care.

I'm staying... although I may have scars, the last two years didn't break me, and I feel better equipped to take on the next challenges.