This article is not meant to draw attention to myself nor is it meant for people to give me pity. In fact, I want the exact opposite. If you are reading this and you have contributed to some of the things I describe below, don't apologize to me. That's not the point of this article.
When I was in 5th grade after hearing the broadcast of Bobby Thompson's "shot heard 'round the world," I fell in love with broadcasting. I would always say to people I wanted to be the next Gary Cohen or Howie Rose and announce for the New York Mets whether it be on TV or radio. That dream was cultivated throughout high school as I interned on a sports talk radio show at LIU Post in 11th grade and took the two broadcasting classes that my school offered. The second class I took during my junior year entitled, "Broadcast Journalism" really furthered my interest into the field. Once a month for 5 days, I was on "The Tomahawk," the morning radio program broadcast to the entire school. Though many people just tuned it out (and to be honest, I did as well when I wasn't on) it was still an accomplishment for me. Every now and then, a teacher or student would come up to me in the hallway and say, "Hey, you're that kid on the Tomahawk" or my friends and teachers would say, "Nice job this morning." It meant the world to me when people would say that because it let me know that people were listening.
Then, something changed. At the end of 10th grade, I began to take a keen interest in history and politics. I began reading books frequently and visiting the public library once a week. While I took the broadcasting class that put me on the school's morning announcements, my interest was deepened. In that class when you weren't on the show you pretty much were allowed to do whatever you wanted. I was the kid who sat there and read a book instead of watching YouTube videos. At the end of 11th grade, I began writing. I would share my opinion on current events and every now and then submit a little paragraph to Newsday or the local papers. The broadcasting field is wider than most people think so rather than become a sports broadcaster, I now wanted to become a journalist. My plan going into my senior year in high school was that I would go to New York Institute of Technology and major in communications with a concentration in journalism whether it be sports and politics. I joined the school paper and was now writing two articles monthly. The problem was that besides writing for the school's paper there were no more broadcasting classes for me to take.
From September to April, I would walk around saying I was a journalism major but in the back of my head I would say "Is it worth it to go into the dirtiest profession there is?" (hypothetically speaking). Journalism is full of slander and back room deals that most people don't know about. Though I was still deeply ingrained in baseball, my interest starting leaning more toward political journalism. Then it hit me. Was it really worth it to do this and make around $50,000 a year? I took a step back and realized what I was overlooking. My senior year schedule featured AP European History, AP Government, AP Macroeconomics and Philosophy. With those four being in the social studies field and my keen interest for all of them I had finally settled on a profession. I would become a history teacher
NYIT doesn't have an education program, which is what led me to my current status at St. Joseph's College. A cheap private college for education majors close to home. Throughout the last two months of my senior year I was met with mixed results from friends, family, teachers, and co-workers. My family of course said to pursue my dream and do whatever I thought was best. Some of my teachers, specifically my AP Euro teacher, were very excited. "You better come back and student teach with me!" were his final words to me on the last day of class. Where the bumpy road begins was with some friends or shall I say "friends." My closest friends were happy for me that I settled in a field I felt comfortable in and encouraged me to pursue my dream as my family members had. Then came the response from my "friends." "Why would you wanna do that?" or "You're better than that" were some of the responses. One of my friends who I thought was a close friend even said to me: "You know nobody actually goes to school to become teacher right? That's like a dead end job." Try saying that to a room full of teachers. It takes 6 years to become a certified teacher, so if 6 years of studying hard is a dead end job I guess that's mine.
What really has kept me going in my desired field is my ability to do what I want when I want to do it and not do whatever is most popular with people. "You teach the same thing every year, you'll probably get bored" or "You spend the first 12 out of your first 18 years of life in school, why would you wanna spend another 20-30 doing it again" were more statements people would make towards me. Would I call it bullying? No. Would I call it being ill-informed and too quick to pass judgement? Yes. Considering teachers in New York make $80,000+ anyone who calls teaching a dead end job is definitely ill-informed.
I start my student observing in February so that begins my path to becoming a teacher to the people who criticized, mocked, and scoffed at my career choice -- Thank you. You have made me stronger. And to all the fake people out there in general -- Thank you. Without you, we wouldn't know the difference between right and wrong. So despite a personal anecdote, what's the overall message? Pursue your dream no matter what people throw at you. Do what you are most passionate about, not what will get you accepted by the most people, because everyone's got something to say and it isn't always a positive comment.