I am a teacher because…

New year, new school, new faces greet me at our first official staff meeting. I am nervous… even as an experienced teacher. The age old questions sit in the back of my mind as I smile and make small talk. “Will people like me?” “Will I fit in?”

The assistant principal calls everyone together in what she calls a “restorative circle.” As 50+ people work out the kinks of creating a “circle,” the principal explains that your response should be honest and anyone in the circle can “pass.” A restorative circle is a safe place to share and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.

This sentence stem is posed:

I teach because….

A powerful statement.

As I listened to each teacher comment, my own reasons started gathering in my mind. I know why I teach. Yet… as I listened to each response, my own thoughts became muddled… insignificant. I couldn’t put my thoughts to words.

My turn:

“I am Raquel Dixon, fifth grade teacher. I pass.”

I was the only teacher who passed that day. I was frustrated with myself… “way to make a good impression,” I thought to myself.

The message I did get that day: Restorative Circles are a powerful way to build relationships. Teachers should use these everyday.

Flash forward: Second “real” day of school and I was trying my first restorative circle with my class. We assembled into an amoeba like circle and I explained the “norms”. One person would talk at a time and that it was okay to “pass.”

A hand went up. “I can really pass?”

“Yes… I passed in my first restorative circle. It is okay to pass.”

That day five students “passed.”

Why did they pass? I don’t know. I know why I passed, and it had nothing to do with words. It had to do with trust. Can I trust you with my thoughts and feelings? I wonder if my students who passed felt the same way.

My turn:

I am Raquel Dixon, fifth grade teacher. I teach because I can be myself and it feels like home.


Author: raqueldixonblog

I am starting my 13th year as a fifth grade teacher and have a total of 22 years as teacher under my belt. I have a BFA in metal working and a MEd in Special Education. My favorite part of being a teacher is it is a place I can be myself. My classroom feels like home.

8 thoughts on “I am a teacher because…”

  1. I have full confidence that you will be loved in your new school! You are one of the strongest, smartest teachers I’ve had the privilege to work with. Enjoy your new experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are a true treasure! I knew you were a fantastic teacher when you taught my own kids & I know how lucky Sigler is to have you do your thing! Have a wonderful year.


  2. Raquel…words may escape you, but feelings never do. You are great at everything you try…next circle, try again. Miss you and continue to be yourself because she is good. 🤗


  3. I am feeling the same way. I made a district change to be closer to home. The new year has started off amazing. We all have to believe in ourselves and what has made us who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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