Hi, I’m Jill Bontrager. This is #WhyITeach.
Growing up, I loved school. I did really well in school.
In fact, I even pretended that I was a teacher on occasion when playing with my dolls.
However, I never planned on actually becoming a teacher—or so I thought. Nope, I was going to be a police officer. I wanted to save people.
Then one day, which turned into years, I became the one who needed saving. My family fell apart; my life was dramatically altered by some disheartening events, and I no longer believed I could make a difference. Yet, my desire to help people never went away. In fact, it grew stronger; I just didn’t see it that way. As I grew older, I still didn’t consider teaching, so I found my way into customer service and sales.
My innate desire to learn and help others do the same enabled me to be quite successful in that area. But all along, God had other plans.
Ultimately, after many people and events were placed strategically into my life, my calling was finally realized. As it turns out, my hardships are the very reason I teach.
I teach because there are wounded students out there who need someone to connect with them.
I teach because every student needs a person in his or her corner cheering them on, even if their parents won’t or can’t do it.
I teach because I know how important it is to be truly seen by your teacher and know that you are thought of even when you are out of school.
I teach because I want students to use their critical thinking skills we learn in my English classes to excel and not be taken advantage of; to see the logical fallacies presented to them in the media, in society and even by their friends and family; to watch them find confidence when they write an essay they never believed possible; to see pride beaming across their faces when they accomplish a goal that seemed insurmountable.
I teach because my students fill my heart with joy and fulfill my calling in this world. I teach because if I didn’t, who would I be?
I am a teacher, and I teach because that is who I am and what I was always meant to do.
Connect with me on KDP’s Educator Learning Network!