Ben Jatos is a high school English teacher in a Portland, Oregon area high school. He has taught for 20 years. He just started his own blog, and he began by asking why he became a teacher and why he continues to teach.

He begins:

“As a new school year begins, I think it’s important for every teacher to answer the question: Why do I teach? This year, this is my answer.

“When I reflect on the circumstances that led me into teaching, there are three main things that happened to me prior to declaring as an education major in college.

“First, when I was 17, my father told me that when I went to college I should earn a degree that came with a title. For example, if I were to major in business I wouldn’t leave college as a businessman. But if I had a degree in education, I would exit as a teacher.

“Second, my senior year in high school I had an English teacher named Trece Greene who made her job seem important, fun, and honorable.

“And third, I took an intro to education class as a sophomore in college and I loved it immediately. Path set.

“The reasons I stay

“Now after 20 years in the classroom, I look at the reasons I stay.

“First, I want to provide for my family and after so many years, and an advanced degree, I can do so with the help of my wife’s fulltime office job. But I know that most people have it rougher than I do.

“Second, I love my job. I can sincerely say that I look forward to each and every day spent with students in the classroom.

“Third, it’s the light bulbs. When a person all of a sudden has an epiphany and figures something out, light bulbs appear over their head. I love seeing light bulbs in my class.

“Fourth, I teach because there is honor in my chosen profession. Serving 150 students in my classroom and the other 1,400 in my school is a task that I take seriously. When a parent releases their child – the most important thing in the world to them – to my school and also to me for guidance, instruction, mentoring, compassion, and a myriad of other roles which can pop up, I don’t want to let those parents or children down in any way. I still remember my sixth grade teacher who was mean to me in front of the class and would pick on most of the kids. She haunts me. I do not want to be that person and have no respect for any teacher that does the same. Conversely, I remember my fourth grade teacher who made me believe that I could accomplish anything. To this day, that man, Jon Snyder, is a huge inspiration.”

Read on to learn about the low points and also the incredible rewards of teaching.

Ben ends by saying:

“Twenty years down and twenty to go. Why do I teach? Because I woudln’t want to do anything else.”

As the saying on Twitter goes: #evaluatethat!