Last week a little girl in second grade asked me what I thought was an unusual question for that moment. She asked, “Are you a teacher?” Given the fact that her usual teacher introduced me as the guest teacher for the day, she seemed to have forgotten that I had been awarded the title of teacher.

After I assured her that I truly was a teacher, she asked me where I taught if I was a teacher. And then I realized that she believed that a teacher was only and exclusively someone who went to the same classroom every day and taught them as did her own treasured educator. When I explained that I was a special type of teacher who teaches wherever I am needed, she was satisfied with that definition and proceeded to draw a picture for me, designating me as the best teacher.

I spent some time thinking about her definition that was location based and I decided that those of us who do teach don’t always do it in the classroom. With the realization that many students, especially the younger ones, don’t consider a more global definition of teacher, it makes sense to me to use it as a life lesson.

We all have the ability, if not the imperative, to be teachers. When we show courtesy in a supermarket by assisting older people with carrying or anything else, we are teaching those around us what’s right. The same types of lessons can be delivered on the road, in a park, or at a medical office.

You don’t need an education degree to be a teacher. You can be a parent, religious leader, fast food server, waste collector, police officer, or fire fighter. Keep in mind that others, particularly small others, are watching you and the choices that you make. Yes, I am a teacher, inside or outside of the classroom. Sometimes I teach math and writing. Sometimes I teach with the words that I write. We can never have too much learning. Shalom.

One thought on “Are you a teacher?

  1. You’ve taught me a lot over the years. We’re all teachers to some extent. Some teachers I’d rather forget! One is my favorite and although I only had him for one Spanish class in high school, I’ll never forget him! I’m sure you’re creating happy memories for all your young students. Shalom!


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