I just read Tom Bloch's book Stand for the Best. He tells the story of why he left his CEO job at H&R Block to teach middle school math in the inner city. Tom felt that his life was missing something and that helping struggling students who didn't have the luck he had would fill that void. Thirteen years later, it turns out he was right.
Not all teachers gave up a million-dollar salary to do what they do, but all teachers certainly share that altruistic nature. You get into this career knowing you will never hit it rich, knowing how all encompassing it is, knowing that people assume you leave at 3 and enjoy leisurely summer vacations... so why do it?
I'm putting the question out to you. Why did you become a teacher? Share your reason or personal story in the comments section.
PS Tom's book is much more than a feel-good story. He describes his struggles and failures as a teacher and founder of a charter school, as well as the ultimate successes. He debates major issues and policies in education like charter schools, merit pay, and character education. It was really thought-provoking. If you're interested, check it out.