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Why do I teach? part 2

Page 2, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Why don't people ask me, or anybody, 'why do you teach?' Writers, particularly successful ones, get asked 'why do you write?' as almost a stock question in interviews.  Maybe enough that they get sick of the question, although I dream of the day someone asks ME that. 

To ask someone who writes for a living why they write is to suggest there must be some broader purpose to their writing beyond that being how they keep a roof over their heads and food on their table.  Writers must know this because they dignify the question with answers like: to heal my pain, and hope I can heal someone else's.  To illuminate the human condition (there are many more concrete forms of this response, of course).  To connect with others through solitude (now I'm making things up, and getting a little snarky, so I should stop.)

What would teachers say if you asked them why they teach? How many times, in how many ways, would you have to ask the question before you got an answer beyond roof-over-head-bread-on-table-oh-yeah-and-health-benefits?  Would it depend on what they teach and who they teach, would it be a different answer for third grade teachers and university MBA adjuncts?  Or would we be more alike than we are different? I know a lot of you out there are teachers, so I'm asking:  Why do you teach?  In case it’s relevant, whom do you teach? Third graders? Communication majors?  At-risk high school kids? Professional masters’ students?  Doctoral students intending to teach college themselves?

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Kristine Muñoz

Curriculum Vitae




Interpersonal Communication