When I decided that I wanted to become a teacher it wasn't an easy decision, because as a kid I thought of becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or even a CEO. But it wasn't until these past couple of years that I considered and chose teaching. At first it was hard for me to accept this, really hard. I went from dreaming of being wealthy with a high-profile career to wanting to go back to high school and talk to teens about the Civil War all day. Not only was it difficult for me, but it was hard for others.
Many people, especially those close to me, were people who saw this as a waste of my time and skills. I can understand why some would believe that. Going back to elementary school, teachers, family, and others in my community saw me as the next great something. Where I'm from, not many people get through high school or even middle school. They give up because they don't see a future with education helping them or no one has told them otherwise. So when they found out that I was going to college, it was big. I'm the first in my immediate family to do so. That was until I told them my major is education. It scared me that I would let them down. When they saw the potential I had academically to do anything I wanted, it was already assumed that I would become wealthy and powerful. Now when I say that teaching is my goal, I can almost see the disappointment.
But now I'm just tired of hearing the same judgemental comments from others. I'm okay with someone who is curious and asks why I chose teaching, I'll be glad to explain that. But it's annoying when they snarkily ask, “Why would you want to go back to high school?” or “You're doing this to become a professor, right?” It's even worse when they point out how teachers get no respect, are underpaid, and many more negative stereotypes. Not every career is perfect. I'm aware of the downsides to teaching, but the upsides are so much more attractive to me.
If someone would just give me a chance to explain why teaching is amazing to me, then things would be different. I want to become a teacher because I love helping others, applying lessons to their lives, seeing progress and growth in students, bringing out their full potential, helping them move toward greater goals, and most of all show them that education is important. Without education, I would be living a completely different life now. Jail, drugs, or the grave would be my options instead of college. I'm especially considering tutoring athletes and impoverished students that need educational guidance and assistance. I know from personal experience that academics can affect one's life for the better.
I used to play football in high school and was seen as the smart guy on the team. There were players who were fantastic on the field, but struggled academically off the field. I saw that they had opportunities to further their careers and education, so I decided to help tutor them in any subject they found difficult. From algebra homework to the SAT, I found joy in helping them succeed. It was a rewarding experience to see my teammates, who I helped, receive full ride scholarships. The difference between them moving on and staying behind is one class or one test, and I gladly gave up my time to help. Outside of athletics, I also helped members of my family receive GEDs, and even a college diploma. I would receive the occasional call during homework to help them with theirs. It was never really a bother, in fact I enjoyed it.
This might sound weird but I constantly dream about when I will become a teacher. I never dreamt of brain surgery, building an invention, or owning a Fortune 500 Company; I dreamt about walking into class on the first day, giving a lecture, listening to presentations, and even grading tests! My dreams truly struck me when I gave a presentation about an interview I had with a former teacher of mine, Mr.Prince. Aside from the general questions about salary and hours, I wondered what he liked most about being a teacher. He said that as a teacher he can have discussions with his students and show them interesting and important information in his own way. After shadowing him for a few classes, I saw the impact he had on his students. He was able to have fun while also teaching important and relevant information.
I was lucky enough to have some of the best teachers, from kindergarten to high school, who influenced me to become like them. If anyone has the slightest desire to become a teacher, I would say to look into it. Don't be afraid that your peers are becoming lawyers and doctors, because it's your decision and your career. Choosing education as my major is like choosing any major: I explored, researched, asked questions and took some time to wonder what I want to do with my life. I know that some people will still give me weird looks and criticize, but at the very least, I know that I'm doing what I really want to do. Being a teacher is amazing and one of the best professions in the world, not a waste.