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Patrick Clady

Patrick Clady

Center Grove Middle School North

3 Years of Teaching; 3 Years at Center Grove 

To me, teaching is important because...
To me, teaching is important because there is an undeniable pressure that comes with the title of “teacher” that is only outmatched by the sheer joy that that title brings. The aforementioned pressure is a result of many outside and inward voices; but if you were to ask any teacher, many would attribute that pressure to knowing that there is a finite amount of time each year with your students. In those 180 days, many questions arise - “am I on pace to reach all standards? Are my students showing appropriate academic growth? Am I giving adequate and constructive feedback?” Many of these questions focus on the unknown, the unanswerable, the future. What’s missing from those questions is a focus on the present. To me, the far more important questions include - “are my students making personal connections to reading and writing? Do my students feel like their presence in my classroom matters? Do my students feel comfortable and proud sharing worries and celebrations?” More than anything, I want the answers to those questions to be a resounding “yes.” After all, nothing is more important in the world of education than giving your students a safe space to achieve, to fail and try again, to connect, and to wonder.

From the time I was first asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was always, “a teacher!” I am a proud fourth-generation educator. I was raised by lifelong educator parents. I have seen up close the exhausting, the defeating, and the questionable sides of education. But, for every negative story, there are hundreds of positive ones. These are stories that make my parents, my grandmothers, my aunt, my mentors, and my colleagues-turned-friends light up when they are shared. When stories like this are told, the joy outshines the pressure. That is why teaching is important - because despite the inward whispers (and sometimes outward shouts) that are ever present in a teacher’s mind, teachers decide every day to choose and remember the joy. It’s not easy, and the ability to do so can often waver, but in doing so, we are teaching our students the best possible lesson. Choose and remember the joy.