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What I Love About Teaching

by Neil Finney

It sure does feel tough to be an Ontario public elementary teacher right now. Amid protests, walkouts and constant media coverage, I am going to work with what feels like that grey, rainy cloud hanging over my head. I feel it’s the right time to remind myself (and you perhaps) what I love about teaching.

Teaching does touch lives – The words we speak, and actions we display, can influence a child to make informed and responsible choices in their life.

Teachers care – Conversations that I have with colleagues about how to better educate and plan for student learning are passionate and genuine.

Teachers have a lasting effect – I have countless, incredible examples of teachers from which I benefitted as a student. By drawing from their effective strategies and positive modeling, I try to frame my perspective as the teacher in the classroom. How will what I am about to say (or do) impact on the student? Is it the right approach to take? What are my next steps for them as a learner in this class? These role models shaped me as a responsible, caring adult and I aim to do the same with the example that I set for my students.

Teaching is a “calling” – I do consider my job a vocation. My job is not left at my school at the end of the day. It occupies my thoughts and calls on me to strategize and plan even when I’m not “on the clock.” In this way, my chosen profession serves a higher purpose for society. I take my responsibility very seriously and am proud to call myself “teacher.”

Teaching as life-long learner – I truly believe that I learn as much from each year’s group of students as they learn from me. If we lose the ability to see this, we risk losing the very reason we are inspired to grow and learn each day (from our students).

When all is said (or tweeted or posted) and done – I love being a teacher. This is the what I reference when I tell my grade 8 students that they should choose a career or pathway that will allow them to do what they love – and get paid to do it. I am exactly where I hoped to one day be and no amount of negative publicity will shake the foundation of my beliefs nor rock the waters of my pedagogy. Teaching is a profound duty that tests, challenges and questions our very thoughts and actions. I am proud to be a teacher and will continue to do my best in educating the leaders of tomorrow – our students.

What do you love about teaching? Share some powerful words and examples of the kinds of things that inspired you to become a teacher with our community.


During Neilʼs 9 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and now junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.



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  • http://www.weinspirefutures.com Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca)

    What a fantastic post, Neil, and so timely as well! It’s definitely not an easy time being a teacher in Ontario right now, and your post is a great reminder of all of the wonderful things about teaching! For me, teaching is the opportunity to show that “every child can learn.” I truly believe this! It’s the chance to work with students that really struggle — some of whom have given up on doing well in school — and showing them just how far they can come and just how much they can learn. This always makes me happy! I’m excited to read what others think about this.


    • neil

      For sure, Aviva. By remembering why we chose to teach – we can connect to the roots of what is important to us and how to best approach our day with students. We are certainly there more for some than others, but all students receiving the guidance, respect and personal connection of us (as teachers) will grow and succeed to their own personal levels. Thanks for the insights!

  • Cindy Yeo

    Well spoken (written), Neil. This is a difficult time to be in our chosen profession and it’s easy to focus on that grey, rainy cloud. Thank you for a reminder of why we are “called” to teaching.

    • neil

      Thanks Cindy for the feedback. The clouds will dissipate and the joy will return again. I think that for each of us there is a soul-searching taking place right now and that a new – refreshed – perspective towards this great “calling” will emerge!