People come to academia for a lot of reasons. For me, it's all about helping the students grow.
Yesterday I accompanied a bus full of students from my program down to Boston for an alumni networking event at Boston Children's Hospital. We also had alumni from several other organizations, including MassGen and MEEI. Our alumni are really great. They do so much for our students. It's really nice to see, and it is a big part of what makes our program so special. It's such a privilege to be part of an inter-generational process.
I have these students for a few semesters, and of course I do what I can to share with them as much of my knowledge and experience as I can when they are with me, but the classroom is just one touch point. Becoming a professional in our field requires much more than just completing some classwork. That's why I try to help give them opportunities to explore and experience things beyond the classroom. I can't claim Boston Day as my work - it's been going on for a number of years - but I help with it. And I help bring a lot of other opportunities.
Being a teacher for me is about providing opportunities. Whether a student grows or not is not really up to me. I can provide the opportunity, and I can provide the support, but the student has to choose to grow. I teach because I get to watch when they choose to reach for that opportunity. None of these students had to come on the trip. They chose to take that opportunity. Some of them were nervous about networking, but they came and they gave it a shot. Watching people try to do something they've never done before, and giving them a boost when they need it, is what makes teaching so rewarding, and getting to watch them grow and succeed is why I teach.