Why do I Still Choose to Teach?

May 8, 2023

By: Noraa Ransey, NBCT

My why is simple: the kids of Kentucky deserve a voice! “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.” This Chinese proverb was most apparent during the pandemic. We became all hands on deck, and every stakeholder stepped up to do what it took to meet the needs of our students. I rode with teachers and community members who brought food to the kids’ neighborhood. I saw farmers put up wifi stations for families to have access to the internet and learn online. Staff showed up every day, though six feet apart, ready for anything that needed to be conquered. As we readjust and find our new normal in education, I hope we hang onto this commitment to our kids and the willingness to do whatever it takes. 

One teacher took my life as a child with nine ACES and used her superpower to change my life. As a sophomore, she told me I wrote like a college kid and moved me to the advanced track toward college. That was the first time I heard my name and college in the same sentence, and it stuck.  This teacher changed my life path with some simple, authentic feedback and taking time to care. I will never stop paying it forward, making sure ALL voices are in the room and all families seen.  My long-term goal for public education is that we ALL know we BELONG in the schools of Kentucky. My why begins with the kids and ends with being a positive influence on every person that leaves a mark on OUR KIDS! 

I save my “yes” for opportunities to learn and lead from the classroom.  Teaching is my passion, and perhaps I will retire someday doing what I LOVE. I also enjoy leading and ensuring leadership hears stories from the classrooms, schools, and communities. The past two years have been by far the most challenging yet rewarding years to teach. I love to share the struggles and triumphs with those removed from current practice. I teach with an open door for aspiring educators and those wishing to observe current educational practices.  This helps me build relationships, opens doors, and shows so much more than any book or story can share. I bring a unique voice to the table. A voice that represents a growing population of our students and families. I have graduated four of my own kids from Kentucky public schools and have a second grader still figuring out where he fits in or stands out the best. As he learns and grows like all my students, I plan to do the same. 

My state NBCT Kentucky network named me a champion of education this year. What is a champion? says a champion is a person who fights for a cause on behalf of someone else. When you become a teacher, you might not realize you will do this every single day. My champion growing up was an educator, and here I am, doing the same for my students. Your students have YOU as their voice, and now more than ever, fighting for them. As the world pushes, we continue doing what we do best.  We are professionals with the power to change lives every single day, we are all champions.  If I could give you one small piece of advice as we push through this ever-changing time in education, remember to give grace! We all need grace on any given day. In return, give grace to students, parents, teammates, and above all yourself.  Let your students know you are human.  Teachers make mistakes too. Be the one that surprises those around you by spreading grace. From my teacher’s heart to yours, thank you for choosing to teach; you are needed, you are appreciated, and the future depends on YOU!

Noraa Ransey, NBCT

Noraa Ransey achieved National Board Certification in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood and presently teaches literacy at the elementary level in Calloway County Schools, Kentucky. As a National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) Minority Teacher Mentor, she works with educators pursuing National Board Certification and with the Kentucky Education Association where she recruits teachers of color and mentors them from the first year of teaching and beyond. She has also worked extensively with the National Education Association (NEA) cohort to mentor aspiring educators taking the Praxis examination and with the organization's diversity initiative where she has created modules on diversity for classroom implementation. She presently serves as Kentucky’s Ethnic Minority Director and a Mentor of Aspiring Educators of Color with the National Education Association. Noraa has served on the Kentucky NBCT Network Board where she chaired the organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and was a member of the Advisory Board for Murray State University. In 2020, Noraa was named Kentucky Education Association Teacher of the Year.