Dan wrote a post a little while ago titled "How Do You Make a MTBoS"? I offered up my thoughts on why this community exists and it continued to get me thinking, why do people teach math? And how does that compare to other subjects? I wondered, if I were to ask teachers from different disciplines, what would their honest responses be...
Why do you teach science? I love science!
Why do you teach English? I love Shakespeare/literature/poetry/writing!
Why do you teach art? I love art!
Why do you teach history? I love coaching! (And I like history.)
Why do you teach math? I was good at math.
Ok, so these responses are totally made up on my part, but I can't shake the feeling that this is what a lot of math teachers would say. In fact, it's what I would have said when I started teaching. I didn't know that I would end up loving it as much as I do now. I was an engineer, I wanted to teach, and I had to decide between math and science. Math just sounded like less work (and I got a C in honors biology in high school).
Don't get me wrong. I don't hold anything against anyone who teaches math but doesn't love it. If these people didn't exist, there would probably be a huge math teacher shortage in this country. And some of them, quite frankly, are awesome teachers. I just think that, in general, math teachers aren't as passionate about their subject. And that's why people seek other math teachers online to network and share ideas. It can be hard to find that at home.