When I was younger, I went back and forth between different career aspirations, but one that always popped up was teaching. One year in late elementary school or early middle school, I turned my small walk- in closet into “a classroom” for my dolls and sometimes by brother (if I could successfully bribe him). I printed out online worksheets or made my own, bought a whiteboard and pointer, and loved organizing school supplies. I also come from a family of teachers﹣my mom and both my aunts. Being a teacher was always an idea in the back of my mind, but it was not until recently in high school that I confirmed my passion for becoming a teacher.
In tenth grade I started the Early Childhood Class elective, where we learned the basics of human development in children and got to work in the in-school preschool and morning program at the elementary school next door. I loved the class and loved working with the kids almost every day. That is when I started to realize that teaching was the path I wanted to test out. My third year of that course was my senior year and our class was basically a period of student teaching at the elementary school or middle school next to our school. I chose a second grade classroom and was placed with an amazing mentor teacher that let me not only observe her class, but get involved with helping children, making my own lessons, and leading small group activities. One of the best parts was the connections I made with the mentor teacher and the kids. I formed great relationships and loved coming in everyday to smiling faces (most of the time) who loved getting help and support in their learning. A few of the kids, I found out through the year, had difficult home lives and loved school because they were surrounded by friends and teachers who cared about them. As an empathetic person, that is another main reason I want to be a teacher, to help less fortunate children. After completing a full school year of this “student teaching” and completing a portfolio, I had enough experience to know that teaching was definitely what I wanted to do in the future.
One teacher that stands out as my favorite teacher was my fourth grade teacher. She made learning as fun as it possibly could be and pushed us to be confident and try our best in the classroom. I still remember some of the activities in her classroom vividly, and I still meet up with her at least once a year to catch up. I have always loved her, but now as an education major, I look up to her as my inspiration for the type of teacher I would love to be. One that truly makes a difference in at least one person’s lives. Secondly, my mom became a special education teacher later in her life when I was in middle school. Hearing how hard she works to help middle schoolers with difficult circumstances always inspires me. And of course my Early Education teacher, mentor teacher, and second grade students convinced me teaching is the right path for me. Those two teachers taught me that teaching is a lot of hard work and that even though teachers can be underestimated or given little credit for their hard work, they do it out of heart. The students I formed relationships with assured me that I can do it, and that I truly want to do it.
I want to be a teacher who does not just go through the motions. I want to make sure the children I teach are not only understanding material, but having fun or at least feeling engaged while doing so. I want to be a teacher that inspires kids to try their best and follow their dreams. And as an elementary teacher, I want the kids to feel cared for. Some kids are not fortunate enough to live in great homes with great parents, and I think that it is important to make school a safe zone for them to be themselves, trust the people around them, and grow as a person too.