Why We Teach

By Janet Mizrahi

Phew! What a time we have been through. Even the most dedicated of us have likely considered early retirement. So as we head into summer break, the time is ripe to recall the reasons we have slogged through the last 15 months on Zoom, learning new ways to reach and teach our students while we worry about our families, our jobs, and not least of all, our health.

For me the answer to why I teach doesn’t take much rumination. I feel exhilarated when I pass along what I’ve learned as a writer. I love watching when students “get it” and then receiving notes years later telling me that what they learned in my classes has helped their careers. Knowing that what I teach truly helps my students gives me a surge of pride that helps mitigate the hard times, this past year in particular.

Another reason I love to teach is because I work with a group of the most dedicated group of smart and caring people I’ve ever met. When I posed the question Why do we do it? Here’s what my colleagues said:

I enjoy the process of trying to kindle students’ interest—cognitively, emotionally, socially—in a subject I hold dear. When those sparks eventually ignite, even if rarely and inconsistently, teaching and learning reveal their grand ability to produce understanding any skill that may extend well beyond the current subject matter or course, maybe even throughout a lifetime. In that sense, teaching is truly an honor.                                                         –Jeffrey Hanson

I teach to stay in touch with young people and to learn from my students, whose energy and drive often impress me. Teaching right now and slogging through extra work, stress, and discomfort feels like an act of hope.                                                          –Nomi Morris

I teach to ensure the future. I teach to arm students with the hard and soft skills they need to excel in a competitive workplace. Skills deliver self-confidence. Self-confidence promises success.                                                                                                            –Gina Genova

I love the energy in the midst of a lively discussion; that moment when we finish a good class and the students recognize that something special has happened; and of course, the e-mails I get years later, when students share how their experiences in class now help them in their current job.                                                                                                     –Craig Cotich

I’ve taught business communication for 27 years! Even after all this time, it’s still a joy to teach a class that students feel is useful. I’ve always believed that the skills developed in business communication classes serve students throughout their careers. The students seem to agree.                                                                                                                                –LeeAnne Kryder

So, as you head into summer to rest, relax, and finally see friends and family (hopefully in person), we, the members of the Guffey Team, hope you’ll also remember that you have a great job to return to in the fall—one that touches others’ lives and enriches yours. Happy Summer!

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