I was always that kid that wanted to be a teacher. Always. And then I went to college. I went through honors courses. I sat in classes of 200+ students, each majoring in a different thing.
Sociology. Biology. All the ologies. Engineering. Medical something. Interior design.
"So, what's your major?"
And I feel ashamed to say that at one point, I'd sigh and shrug my shoulders and say "Oh, I'm just doing education."
That little word can completely tear down the rest of the words that follow.
As I went through classes, I started wondering why I was doing this major. A lot of people look at it as getting paid to be a mom. Or baby sitting. Or those who can't do, teach.
And you know what? They're wrong. Every one of them.
As I go further into this field, that "just" has vanished, and the statement has become a badge of honor. "I'm doing education. I want to teach children. I want to teach the young people who will be doing our work years from now."
And so what if the world ends before "years from now"?
Some of these kids go through school with a learned sense of failure. With bullying, pressure, and the growing number of disabilities in today's classroom, a school day is a day of struggle and stress.
Except for those few moments with a teacher. Or a tutor. Where the time is spent on the individual. And for a few short minutes out of their 24 hour day, they feel success. And they feel like they can do it. And they start trying again.
It's like modern art. People say "I can do that." Sure, but you don't. However, it's a lot more than that. CAN you teach?
Can you walk into a classroom of four year olds jumping off the table, half of them don't even understand English, and all of them fueled by the power of a thousand pixie sticks. And having the authority and bond with those children to say "Enough!" And it's enough. And they're done. And they sit down and listen to you.
Or when the two year old comes in crying every day and you hold him and rock him and rub his back, until one day, he walks into the classroom, sees you and runs to you, and waves, smiling, to his mom. Because he may not have friends there, but he has you.
I know I won't be teaching pre school. And it breaks my heart to know that some day I'll leave those little kiddies.
And it breaks my heart to look back and know that they're so young... they probably won't remember me. But maybe I changed them. Even if I didn't, I made them happy to be at school for just a little bit.
I'll be teaching Elementary School where kids will pull on my hair. Where cliques will form and bullying will happen. Where a student will stare at you with anger in their eyes, and you just know that they're going to hate you.
It's going to be hard. And by no means will it ever be perfect. But it is my purpose. To make tomorrow better by making children today better.
I wondered if I was wasting my talents by becoming the teacher. I'm not trying to brag, but I'm clever and I work hard. I excel in math and science. I was going to throw that away to sit in a classroom with minimal pay listening to kids scream?
But it's not wasting my time. It gives me a sense of fulfillment to personally make a difference in the lives of those around me.
And that's why I'm going to teach.