"It is hard to consider what I do as a job, because it is truly a part of who I am. People always say to me, "Those kids are lucky to have you," but I'm the lucky one. Working with students day in and day out, year after year, I get to meet and become a large part of their lives. I get to be a part of molding into young adults and helping them prepare for the world. I care for them, challenge them, and encourage them as if they are my own." —Jenni Vincelli, fifth grade, Manalapan, New Jersey
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"I love building lasting relationships with my students and being able to see them become lifelong learners." —Maddie Mayerson, first and second grade, Somerville, Massachusetts
Don't miss these inspiring acts of kindness by students
"As a retired college dean and author who is currently teaching writing classes to adults at Conejo Valley Adult School in Thousand Oaks, California, I am honored to teach adults and share a moment in time with individuals who are going back to school for the sheer joy of learning." —Karen Gorback, PhD, author, Freshman Mom
"I teach 4th grade at a low-income school, and many of these kids have had a tough life. But all any
child needs is one adult who can show them they are capable of great things. We never give up in my classroom. One student kept telling me 'I won't give up!' Then, things started clicking for him—it was like a lightbulb went off. I started urging him to help others out, and when one day a kid looked up at him and told him 'you sure are smart'—I have never seen that student smile so big! On a later day when his mom was picking him up early, I walked him down so I could share how far he had come. I told his mom how proud I was of him, and she grabbed me in a big hug. With tears in her eyes, she whispered 'thank you.' As a teacher, I can change the trajectory of a child's life for the better. What other job can impact the future like that?" —Kara S. Davis, fourth grade
"My students are curious, brave, and inspire me every day. In the dance studio and on the stage, we are constantly collaborating and learning from each other. Our work and conversations go beyond the technique of movement and acting into understanding the self and the world around us. My favorite thing is to see a student who has never danced before perform confidently on stage in a piece that they helped choreograph and express themselves in a new and authentic way." —Stephanie Simpson, dance, musical theatre, and yoga, sixth to twelfth grade, New York City. Interested in yoga for kids
"I love my job because I am privileged to be a part of someone's life story, the story of who they are and how they come to be their future self. It is pure joy to see a child become even more the person they are meant to be." —Elizabeth Tavasci, first and second grade, Phoenix, Arizona
"I know I love my job when my American History students say 'we are becoming historians!'" —Ann Shaheen, humanities, Phoenix, Arizona
"My students are part of my community for much longer than they are in my classroom. They are part of my heart forever. I am not just their 'teacher.' I am part of their village, I learn from them, challenge them, coach them, and believe in them. In return, they teach me how to be better in each of these areas and brighten my day." —Nana Kanzaveli, second grade, Los Altos, CA. Read what students wish their teacher knew
"I created TymeMachine
to offer innovation and technology for kids of ages 6-12 in St Louis MO. Right away, I saw the enthusiasm in the kids. Their non-stop questions and curiosity to explore ahead of my instruction is inspiring. Their smart little brains can do wonders. We want to make every kid a maker and innovator of technology, not just a user. We want to focus on the foundations of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Initiative to equip the kids with improved problem solving skills and critical thinking ability." —Suparba Panda, founder/visionary/technologist
"My students are just as passionate about the environment as I am. Their passion for conservation recently drove them to ask for a formal change in Park's drop-off and pick-up policy. Called 'Turn your key, and be idle free,' the policy asks drivers who'll be waiting longer than 10 seconds to turn off the car to cut down on emissions. I am tremendously proud of these students for their energy and devotion to advocating for our community and our planet. Our young people need to see that their voices are heard, and that with persistence, we can make a positive difference," —Ellen Hoitsma, third grade teacher, the Park School, Baltimore, Maryland.