And They Say Teaching Is A Dying Field – Tina Lupo

And They Say Teaching Is A Dying Field – Tina Lupo

My passion for teaching was ignited in me almost 20 years while in my high school child care class. This is where my love of learning and my love for helping children grow and develop began. It’s satisfying to know you are not only motivating students to learn, but teaching them how to learn, and doing so in a manner that is relevant, meaningful, and memorable. It’s about caring for your craft, having a passion for it, and conveying that passion to everyone, most importantly to your students. I love caring, nurturing, and developing minds and talents. It’s about devoting time, often invisible, to every student. It’s also about the thankless hours of grading, designing or redesigning daily lessons, and preparing materials to further enhance instruction. I believe in each and every student and know I can be a positive role model for them. I know I can be that spark that ignites their love of learning. I know I can change their life!

Now 20 years later, I have seen things in education change tremendously. Children come to school with a lot of baggage. They are dealing with things someone their age should not be expected to handle. Our students are struggling against poverty, prejudice, substance abuse, hunger, abuse, and apathy on a daily basis. I go the extra mile because children need to feel safe and loved in order to learn and be successful. “Every child is one caring adult from being a success story” (Josh Shipp). Because many students come from families who don’t care—or don’t know how to show they do, I become the one consistent thing in most of their lives. I welcome them into my classroom with a warm smile and open arms. They might not be able to feel safe or loved at home, but I make it my mission to make them feel that way when they step into my classroom. I can offer them hope and love. I can make a difference in their lives.

Every day I tell myself to treat these children how I would want my children to be treated by their teachers. That is why I often call my students, “my kids”. Why I feel obligated to take care of them and ensure their basic needs are met. Why I give them baby wipe baths when they come to school dirty. Why I buy them supplies, winter coats, boots, hats, gloves, clothing, etc. Why I send them home with extra food so I know they eat that night. Why I lay awake at night worrying about them and if they will somehow make it to school the next day. They are someone’s whole world and I care for them as if they were my own. Every September I go from having two children to twenty something children.

Teaching is one of the most difficult, challenging, frustrating, emotionally exhausting, mentally draining, satisfying, wonderful, important and precious jobs in the world. I’m grateful that I get to do it every day. To offer hope, to make a difference, and to change lives!

Tina Lupo is our 2015 Back To School Essay Winner. She is a 1st grade teacher at Fountain Elementary, Roseville, MI

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