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Why is being a teacher worth it? What is it that draws you to the classroom?

English teacher Rachel Ravreby Lintgen, a 1994 graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, gives her own answers to these important questions in a recent blog post. The Folger has a special connection to Amherst since the college is Henry Folger’s alma mater. But anyway, we enjoyed her blog post, and we wanted to share some of it with you:

In the past year, especially, I have thought long and hard about why it is I chose teaching. After a six-year hiatus to stay at home with my two children, I decided to return to the classroom this last year. As I re-entered the workforce, I found myself wondering why and how I had, again, chosen teaching as my path. More precisely, I found myself reflecting on what sustains me in a field that is difficult, time-consuming, underpaid, often criticized, routinely scapegoated, and typically misunderstood. The answer is both simple and multi-faceted: Curiosity. In my classroom, I wonder aloud how a writer crafts her prose. I ask my students to be critical inquirers, to ponder the complexities of a text and resist easy answers. And among my colleagues, we question our practice and investigate new ways to engage with the content and with our students. As a community of teachers we, too, are a community of learners who puzzle over the how and why kids learn. At our best, teachers are explorers – curious about not only the material of the course but about how best to communicate our passion to students.

Read more at Well Mixed, an Amherst College alumni blog.

What sustains you as a teacher? Is it curiosity, or something else? Tell us in the comments.

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