Why I Am A Teacher

We forget how happy we can be when teaching. Although I am filled with fear in the photo below, with Dr. Krashen in the classroom that day, I remember how happy I was, at least trying to make it work. Just look at those kids’ faces. That tells it all. That is why I am a teacher.

I publish it here on my birthday after a VERY long time on the planet and I raise a glass to all who, similarly feel the fear of teaching and go in and do it again the next day anyway. This photo was taken toward the end of my career after I had taught about 34,000 classes.

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17 thoughts on “Why I Am A Teacher”

  1. Joyeux anniversaire, Ben! Thank you for your tireless work in language teaching and for inspiring teachers to try new things. 🙂

    1. Not knowing any German, and being somewhat intimidated by it, as one would be standing right next to a race horse, I think I say thank you Robert! I can see in there the word Geburstag. Sounds like birthday?

      1. Translation:
        Everything (all) Good for your Birthday and God’s richest blessing in the coming year.

        (You would probably have understood more if you had heard it rather than read it.)

  2. Happy Birthday dear Ben. Hope you had a nice day and have and may your next year be full of smiles ¡Salud!

  3. I remember this image! YES!

    So much gratitude for you! Thank you for the reminder to capture these images in our minds when it gets gnarly!

    Happy birthday!!! See you very soon 😀 Yippeee!!!!

    1. Yes jen I am so excited and you will be teaching meditation and yoga! Yay! I just went to yoga today for the first time in a long time. I have decided that I need to relax more and get my head straight for the work this summer. And what a lot of it there is too!

  4. Happy Birthday Ben! Know that when I’m feeling that anxiety on those dreadful mornings I take solace in knowing that Ben Slavic is at my side like a guardian angel!

    1. Sean! I will see you soon in Cherokee Nation! I am really excited. I have always thought of Ben’s books as bringing me the voice of a faraway friend who happens to also have killer advice on teaching French. I was just thinking about the day in May of 2015 when I knew I was going to a new school to finally teach languages full time. I was packing up my room and came upon Stepping Stones to Stories. I almost hugged that book because it was such a friend to me when I first read it.

    2. Thank you jen and Sean and others. We have come a long way together over many years and would not be here, I feel convinced, without real angels having come to work with us, ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice without our even having known they were there, except we made it through another heart crisis in the classroom, every day all these years. It is the time we have spent fighting for what we think is best for kids that makes our lives together here so valuable, as in Le Petit Prince:

      “C’est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante.”

      “El tiempo que has perdido con tu rosa, es el que la hace importante.”

      “It’s the time that you lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

  5. Ben,
    Sorry I am late to the post.

    Bon anniversaire! Live long and prosper!

    This is my first chance to share an artifact with the PLC. Always cite your sources, I remind my students.

    The following birthday song was taught by the Belgian monitrices at the Governor’s Language Institute In French, 1992 at East Carolina University (Greenville, NC). My thanks to then-Governor Jim Martin for using some discretionary budget money to fund residential month-long programs for teachers of French, Spanish and more. And two marriages unexpectedly resulted from that special month of coursework. 😀

    Bon anniversaire
    Nos vœux les plus sincères
    Que ces quelques fleurs
    Vous apportent le bonheur

    Que l’année entière
    Soit douce et légère
    Et que l’an qui suit
    Nous soyons tous réunis

    Pour chanter encore
    Bon anniversaire!

    Thank you, Ben, for working so hard to lead our profession into more and more meaningful interaction with our students, even if administrators cannot see sometimes what is there.

    On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible aux yeux.
    It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
    —Le Petit Prince d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    1. Thanks Neal. That is such a very beautifully written song. It evokes (love the verb) that hard-to-define quality of heart that most people don’t see in the French.

      Those Belgians were in South Carolina as well. (I was at Myrtle Beach High School in 1992 suffering greatly trying to teach out of a book, still years away from meeting Susie Gross here in CO.) But those SC Belgians were building a gun factory in those years Fabrique Nationale.

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