This collective post for October pulls together insights and comments from our TeachingEnglish associates as a feature for World Teacher's Day on October 5th.

Why don't you join in using the comments below? What does being a teacher mean to you?

Every time you teach you have the opportunity to be the catalyst that helps someone to transform their life.
Rachael Roberts

Becoming a teacher involves taking some responsibility for the process of enabling people (you didn’t choose to put in the world) to live in this world (you didn’t create) - therefore, it’s is an extreme form of commitment to the well-being of the other.
Becoming a teacher requires an enormous conviction that change is possible - which I don’t think I would have if I was a rock star (the original plan).
Becoming a teacher can be as good or bad a career choice as any other; but as far as a life-choices go, it’s pretty up there.
Willy Cardoso

It doesn't really matter what being a teacher means to me, but what does matter is what it means to my students.
Dave Dodgson

As a keen (but recent) gardener I often reflect on the similarity between a teacher and a gardener. (I can hear the “pass the bucket” from here). Being a teacher is like being a gardener. We give the students, our seedlings, everything they need to grow and flourish. We pay attention to their needs and give special attention when it is needed. We recognise that no two plants are the same. Their needs and preferences need to be taken into account. And while some of us are like high-tech gardeners who source their F1 seeds and self-pollinate their pumpkins, others achieve the same effect by planting their leeks under a full moon or stamping on their onions at a certain stage in the maturity process. As long as the vegetables taste good, does it matter how we grow them? And then there are the eclectic gardeners (like me). We like to do leek stuff on full moon nights but we like to film it on our iPhones at the same time … and share it on a blog. I think that between the lot of us we’re doing a mighty fine job and our vegetable plots are looking grand. Good luck with this year’s harvests everybody – and remember, the more you plant, the more you’ll reap.
Katherine Bilsborough

For me the most important thing about being a teacher is sharing: sharing stories and experiences with students, sharing ideas and doubts and anecdotes with peers, sharing and working through thoughts and questions on blogs. The best thing about being a teacher (maybe now more than ever) is that you're never working alone.
Ceri Jones

Vicky Saumell

Being a teacher means being a knowledgeable other whose aim is to help a learner function effectively and independently without a teacher. It's also a job.
Ian James

Being a teacher means everything you look at is a potential lesson, from a great bit of a film to the information on the side of a cereal packet; from an empty lunch box to a bag full of mystery objects; from one of your favourite childhood poems to that new song you just can't get out of your head. It's about being a magpie, being creative, and letting your imagination run riot so that your lessons are varied and you keep your students interested and inspired. It's one of the most intellectually stimulating jobs out there, and I wouldn't dream of being anything else!
Sandy Millin

Teaching has been 8 years of drinking too much coffee, marking exams, and living in strange places with lots of people who can't quite say my name properly...
But really and most importantly for me, I think:
Teaching is about listening more than talking.
Teaching is about facilitating discovery.
Teaching is about understanding understanding (or at least trying to...)
And teaching is just about the coolest job I've had.
George Chilton

My teaching has included a balance of adult and teenage learners, but it has only been recently that I have taught much older students. This opportunity came out of the blue when a retired college professor of mine approached me about teaching her and a group of women, all intent on learning Spanish. They had started taking a Spanish class together and needed some additional support. As I was tutoring mostly teenagers at the time, I agreed to take it on for a little variety.

What I discovered in teaching these six women (and what I had not expected) was the energy and spirit they always bring to our Monday morning classes. Continually surprised by their infinite enthusiasm for the material and the language and their persistence to learn, I have since found myself looking forward to their questions and stories each week.

Our classes have included everything from travel tips to pesky grammar points - all of which they are happy to discuss at length. We have even had several classes where we've cooked meals together (since language learning is always better with food). Now with that we've been doing this class for over a year, they are planning a trip to Mexico. I am humbled always by their perspective and by the wisdom they bring so effortlessly to our class. My college professor was my mentor early on in my career and I am honored now to be her teacher.
Anna Whitcher

Teachers are everyday heroes that were called on a mission to help the world learn. It requires an enormous amount of compassion, self sacrifice, and inner strength to choose to dedicate your life to nurturing 1000s of lives. Teachers handle the heart and mind of your children and at one point you; therefore, we should strive to make this mission one of the most appreciated, respected, and supported.
Shelly Sanchez Terrell

Graham Stanley

Being a teacher? It’s like any other job – it has to be what you want to do, what you enjoy, what “fulfills” you on some level. A profession is like a skin – it has to fit you; if not, shed it. If you can’t do your job with passion, thought, presence, patience, curiosity, optimism… then go and be a truck driver, a brain surgeon, an engineer, a bank-teller, a receptionist, whatever else it is your gut instinct tells you you really want to be. But if being a teacher is who you are, not just what you are, then that’s…. being a teacher.
Fiona Mauchline

Being a teacher means that I can spend a lot of time getting to know people, and as a result, their culture. means that I’ve had to learn to think about the needs of other people before my own. means I’ve learnt the value of listening. means that maybe, just maybe, I can help someone improve the quality of their life. means that my mind has been opened to range of viewpoints and walks of life. means that I am constantly challenged and constantly learning.
...and finally, it means that I have a passion and a calling in my life which provides me with an unending supply of energy and inspiration. 
James Taylor

I teach because it is the best way to keep endlessly learning, encounter staggering diversity on a daily basis and because I am privileged enough to be able to do so.
Lizzie Pinard

There’s a question that school leavers get asked when they seek careers advice: “What would you do if money was no object?” And in my lottery winning dream, I would still teach. Maybe not as much as I do now – I’d probably teacher fewer classes and at times that fitted in with my needs – but I would still teach. I’d probably be the only multi-millionaire teacher in the world, but I would still do it and that’s because I enjoy it. It’s a challenge, it’s interesting and it gets you thinking in ways that you don’t expect at the beginning of the day. Teachers get to help people, constantly, get where they want to go. And it’s not always easy and it’s not always fun and it’s tiring and relentless and you spend so much time trying to get inside other people’s heads (or to get information inside other people’s heads) that you can sometimes forget to spend enough time in your own… But if I had a hundred million euros in my bank account? Yeah. I’d still teach.
David Petrie

Being a teacher is...
Larissa Albano



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