Why I Teach
By Michael LoBiondo
As teachers, we follow different paths to our vocation, and formal education is a rich and colorful calling as a result. I became a PAWLP fellow because I believe that the “teachers-teaching-teachers” method is part of that mission. I teach today for the same reason that I did when I started out as a high school English teacher many years ago: to share a love of learning with my community.
I teach to provide opportunities for students to achieve by modeling intellectual curiosity while helping them navigate a rigorous course load. My role is to prepare students to self-actualize in the varied opportunities that life will unveil for them, including college and professional schools. Specifically, I use appropriate selections of fiction and non-fiction as well as the grammar, mechanics, and usage of the English language to deliver the curriculum in accordance with my school’s policies and goals. Of course, writing —formal and informal— plays an important role in my daily lessons. I have adopted as my mantra what Brown University says of the writing requirement for their students: “Good writing is essential to learning. Across the disciplines, scholars, teachers, and students write to explore ideas, uncover nuances of thought, and advance knowledge. Writing is not only a medium through which we communicate and persuade; it is also a means for expanding our capacities to think clearly.”1 Indeed!
I teach so that I may help the youth of my nation grow into productive citizens. Accordingly, I endeavor to create opportunities for students to contemplate their values from the examples available in the daily lessons. Successful students in my classroom will need to work hard with integrity and challenge themselves, their peers, and their instructor to maximize their experiences in my classroom and at their school.
I teach because my teachers from kindergarten through graduate school inspired me to carry on the important work that they had carried on from their teachers. When I was a student teacher, I looked up my favorite teacher from high school and solicited his advice on a specific lesson. His suggestions were brilliant and fresh, and his enthusiasm was just as authentic as it had been in the classroom during his long and illustrious career as a masterful teacher of English.
I teach in the hope that I will learn much from my students; they are fellow human creatures with much to offer. The good teacher is also a good learner, and I never want to stop learning.
Michael LoBiondo has been an educator for 20 years, first as a high school English teacher and more recently as an aide at a charter school in Chester, PA. He has been a PAWLP fellow since 2003. Mr. LoBiondo has taught at the West Chester University site of the Young Writers/Young Readers summer program since 2004. He is currently working on his first novel, a fictional memoir.
1“Brown University.” The Writing Requirement. Brown University, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014. <http://www.brown.edu/academics/college/degree/curriculum/writing-requirement>.