The Cooper School Daily

Why I Teach… Ryan Pixler

I remember the day I realized that I belong in a classroom. It was one of my first education courses in college. That semester, we had visited and observed several neighboring elementary schools. This was the first time that I had actually been given a class and taught a lesson. For the life of me, I cannot remember what the lesson was on. What I do remember is that I almost instantly felt connected to this group of second graders. Looking back now over a decade later, nothing extraordinary happened that day in the classroom… They asked a lot of questions. I reminded several kids to raise their hands. They wandered off topic often. No shining moment really sticks out about that day. However, I remember leaving that afternoon and feeling like I had just experienced magic.

 I teach because I am fortunate enough to get to witness that magic in my classroom on a daily basis. There is nothing quite like watching a child learn something new, create something of their own, or most of all, fail and continue to try. As an adult, it is so easy to forget what it was like to make sense of the world as a kid. I teach because of the constant reminder to appreciate the small joys in life.

When I was a child, all that I ever wanted from my teachers was for them to share with me what they knew and to treat me like a human being. I could probably count on one hand the number of teachers with whom I formed personal connections that I carried with me later in life. I wish that it had been more of them, but I am so grateful for the strong teacher connections that I did have. I teach because I want to be one additional adult in my students’ lives who they know cares about them!          

 In August of 2018, I found The Cooper School. I was immediately enamored with the strong community of the entire school, between staff, students, and parents. I felt right at home like I had been welcomed with open arms. Here, I feel both supported and challenged in my work. I feel so lucky to have found a place that doesn’t always make work feel like a job. The Cooper School has given me a purpose. I cannot wait to someday share the joy of The Cooper School with my own children.