Yesterday, I wrote about why I teach, and how my reasons are not the reasons most teachers discuss. Their reasons are beautiful and moving, but they are not my own.

When I look at my own reasons to teach, however, I recognize that there are connections to more conventional reasons for teaching. I thought they were interesting:

1) I don’t want to change the world

BUT

The world is changing. The world is getting better – less violent, less polluted, smarter, healthier, more long-lived, and more conscious of the individual – and those changes owe a great deal to science and science education. Whether I want to or not, I believe that I do make the world better when I teach the values and principles of science.

2) I don’t believe I have a calling

BUT

I am the sum of my experiences. I have been influenced all my life by great teachers. I am carrying on their work through my own. Their ideas live on through me. That is maybe not a calling, but it is a connection that stretches beyond my own boundaries. Perhaps, if I am passionate and energetic and very lucky, I will inspire other teachers myself. And so it goes on.

3) I don’t believe in learning science because it’s important

BUT

The truth is that science is our only hope for survival. Life on Earth will someday come to an end, unless people with good explanations decide otherwise. By doing what I love, I perhaps can help the world survive.

Interesting. I’m happy that it works out that way – but it doesn’t change why I teach. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.

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