Summer is coming to an end and another school year is about to begin. As you work on setting up your classroom and preparing lesson plans, you are either excited to be back in session or you may be wishing Summer can last just one more week.

A new school year means a new wave of students. All with different stories, upbringings, interests and goals. You’re going to make an incredible impact on some and have less of a connection with others. You will teach your material, field questions, give assignments, issue grades and give some students that extra time they need.

This may be why you became a teacher – to help your students learn, grow and gain life skills. But I believe you became a teacher for a much deeper reason.

Maybe you had a teacher that changed your life when you were a teenager? Were your parents educators?

Think back on your experiences. What were those experiences you had in your life that led you down this path? When was the moment you said, “I need to be a teacher and this is what I need to do with the rest of my life.”

Take a moment and think about it because teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s also one of the most important. You certainly don’t need me to tell you that.

As excited as you may be to get this next year underway, there are going to be times when you get frustrated, stressed or feel like quitting. But in those moments, deep down in your heart lies the reason why you are here in the first place. Think about it now so it’s there during the tough times. And despite frustrations, you will continue to have the biggest impact as possible on each and every one of your students.

Now that you are reflecting on your “why,” I want to thank you for it. I want to thank you for deciding to become a teacher because you’re not just making a difference in your students’ lives. You’re making a difference in our community.

You’re teaching how to be respectful, how to deal with failure and criticism, how to work hard and how to get along with others. You are helping to shape the culture of years to come.

Last year I visited a high school during their first week of school to present my assembly program and I want to share a quick interaction I had with a student to show how important these first couple weeks of school can be.

In my program I talk about using our obstacles as opportunities to grow and learn more about ourselves. After the assembly one of the students that came up to talk to me was a junior. She started to tell me that over the summer she lost her job as a camp counselor because she was diagnosed with a mental disorder and they wouldn’t let her around the kids. She then told me that what I said in my assembly helped her feel less embarrassed of who she is and she is going to fight to let this make her stronger.

Here is a student who is at a very important point in her life and her ability to deal with “life stuff” can really impact her ability to thrive in the classroom. We never know what students are going through until we get to know them and become relatable. Maybe that’s what the first couple weeks of school is about. Because after all, they want your help. They want your advice. They want your knowledge. And who knows, maybe you will inspire the future teacher in them.

So as you get this new school year underway and think about why you became a teacher, just remember you have one of the most important jobs in the world.

About the Author: Mike Marsteller is a youth motivational speaker helping teens and young adults be more resilient and find purpose in life. To learn more about Mr. Marsteller, visit his official website

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