Last week I had the amazing opportunity to speak to around forty high school students that wish to pursue a career in education. I was supposed to answer questions like how much do you get paid, what is the retirement like and how many years do you go to school? However, I did not answer those questions. They can Google that, and trust me they know how. Instead, I told them about the stuff that you can’t Google. I laid it all out on the table. I told them what every pre-service teacher needs to hear but doesn’t. I told them about the hungry kids, sick kids, neglected kids and abused kids. I told them about the kids whose parents are in rehab or getting divorced. About the parents that would rather play video games than help their own child with homework. I told them about the kids that don’t have working restrooms in their houses or the ones that move five times in one month. We talked about the kids who are tardy because their guardian wouldn’t get out of bed. Then they get in trouble for it when it’s not something they can control. I told them how my husband’s 5th grade teacher changed his entire life. And then I asked them how they were going to change up their classroom to accommodate these students. How are they going to differentiate their instruction to make sure that these children with other major problems are still successful? This is where a true teacher shines. Can you do this? Can you figure all of this out and somehow get students to do what the state wants you to do…pass the TEST? When students are suffering, malnourished and neglected their focus is not on school. How are we as educators going to get them interested? How are we going to show them a different way of life? We need to create life-long learners all the while being sympathetic and embracing whatever new circumstance comes our way. We need to differentiate instruction for all, for the sole reason of reaching each and every student in our classroom. No matter what “label” has been placed on a student every child deserves a teacher that will be their biggest advocate. The students at the career fair asked me if the actual teaching part was hard. I told them the “teaching” is the easy part. It’s everything else that is hard. Teachers are not just teachers. Our real job is so much more than that. We have to be the person in their life who is going to fight for their education so that one day they have the strength and courage to change their circumstances. The end goal is to create happy, well-rounded community members. Adults that will in turn make a difference in society. If you are in this for the summers off, my plead to you is don’t do this. Work in a different field. You can not convince me that true teachers are not called from God. I want passionate teachers teaching my kids, my grandkids, and my nieces and nephews. I want teachers that are going to go the extra mile no matter the pay, no matter the circumstances and no matter the absolute heart break. You are either in or you are out. There is no in between in this profession.