Several times in the past day I have shared the same sentiment about teaching at the primary level. In having some time to reflect upon the answers that I gave, the questions that I was asked, and the entire process, one of the take aways about my practice was this:
My job is not just to teach kids, my job is to open the world. In some ways I have this vision in my head of Rick Moranis frantically saying “Are you the gate keeper?” over and over again. But in reality, as I see my work with young kids in primary classrooms, my job is very much one of door opener, world expander, and life changer. We don’t often realize just how closed the world is to a young child. For so many kids the world is a place full of things that do not make sense.
My job, is to give them the opportunity, the skills, and the materials to start to make sense out of the world. I feel fortunate to be able to spend my time building those experiences. When I get to hear stories about how kindergartners are teaching their parents about how gravity and leap year work, I feel somewhat like the Grinch when his heart grows! As a teacher at any level you have a greater task. Most of us joined this profession with the goal of making a positive difference. The difference you make is not just giving kids information, or showing them how to get it, it is opening the world to them in ways they could never have dreamed possible. Because of you, somewhere a kid will dream bigger than they ever knew they could. Because of you, somewhere a kid will become something special and make a difference too. Be the gate keeper, open the gates, and see what amazing things your kids will do!