Guest Educator Column — Melissa Nussbaum, Lindbergh

Melissa Nussbaum, Lindbergh

Growing up, I loved playing school. I loved it when my teachers gave me old answer keys or extra copies of Scholastic News. As I got older, I knew I wanted to work with kids, but teaching didn’t interest me. I worried that I’d be a glorified babysitter, that I wouldn’t feel like I was challenging myself. I went to college thinking I’d be a pediatric dentist, but when I graduated I  realized that wouldn’t have the impact on kids that I wanted. After some twists and turns, I ended up working with special needs students as a teacher’s assistant and realized what I’d known in my heart all along: I should be a teacher!

Nussbaum photo 2Being a teacher is so much more than what I played as a child. As a teacher, we wear many different hats for our students. We respond to their individual needs, we mentor and nurture, but we also find the delicate balance of motivating and holding students to higher standards than they hold for themselves. Being a teacher is teaching students more than just a content specific curriculum: it’s helping them discover who they are as individuals and teaching them skills they’ll use the rest of their lives. We are comedians and disciplinarians. We help students discover, uncover and connect. As teachers, we use our voices to speak on behalf of our students, to advocate for their needs as learners and as people. Beyond the classroom, I’ve discovered that teaching is a field in which we never stop learning and growing ourselves. I’ve discovered the leadership opportunities that exist within the profession and the importance of teachers as leaders in our profession, to speak on behalf of what’s best for our students and promoting our profession.

Teaching is the greatest profession, because it allows us to play so many different roles. I assure you, it is a profession that yields the greatest and most lasting rewards.