Teaching for the right reasons

As college students, we are forced to answer the never-ending questions of what we are studying in school and what career goals we are working towards.

As an aspiring educator, I rarely get an enthusiastic response about my field of study.

Instead of getting encouragement, my peers attempt to persuade me into another more “reliable” career choice. They speak of the low chances that I have of finding and keeping a teaching position while also reminding me that it would be hard to make a living on a teacher’s salary.

Though I know that their intentions are good as they are focusing on my well-being, I still don’t agree with them. While I understand the practicality of these concerns, I have thought through the potential consequences I may face because of my career choice.

I am fully aware that it may take me a significant amount of time to find a stable teaching position, and that I will absolutely not be living in luxury. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t care about those possibilities. I am perfectly happy with the struggles I will face as a teacher, as well as the amount of money that I will bring in each month.

The stigma surrounding teaching is only getting worse and I cannot express how sad that makes me. Teaching has become a “plan b” major for many students across the country. When their original plan fails, they see education as an easy alternative. They excite themselves with the perk of having a summer off, getting home before 5 p.m. and experiencing days off due to weather. What they don’t realize is that none of those things are what teaching is about. If those were the reasons why college students chose to be in education, then our country should be ashamed of what education has become.

It has been made clear to me how powerful an influence a teacher has. I doubt I could put into words how grateful I am for the support that I have received from teachers over the years. I can easily name teachers that made impacts on my life and inspired me to have the desire to teach.

Though teachers are not often respected by the public, I intend to be a part of changing the opinion and negative connotation that teaching cannot seem to shake. I hope that the public will begin to see the role that teachers have and how deeply it can affect their children.

My ambition is that one day students will come to me not only for help with their school problems, but other struggles that they face as well. A teacher is meant to teach students and I don’t think that job is limited to things that are only academic. I want my students to learn from me, comprehending and actually retaining the information that I teach.

I am also not ignorant enough to believe that I will never learn something from my students. I have learned never to question the wisdom of a child; they often see things more clearly than adults.

If you had teachers that doubted your ability, or discouraged your interests then I am truly sorry for your educational experience. It is my goal to support and nurture my students from the moment that they walk into my classroom and that encouragement will not stop even after they walk out the door at the end of the school year.