I've wanted to be a teacher since I moved on from my dream of being a ballerina at the age of four. It has been a practical life path choice, but one that keeps get solidified as I take more education classes each year in college.
People have to want to teach, you have to have a drive for it, a passion for it. It's not an occupation to just decide upon if you can't make up your mind on something. It takes a lot of commitment, hours of grading, lesson planning, understanding children, and being knowledgeable in many subject areas.
When people look down on teaching, I don't know how much more naive they could possibly be. I'm tired of hearing, "Why would you ever want to teach?" It's not about how much money you make, it's not about getting the summers off, it's not about being done at 3p.m. every day. Teaching is an all day job. When you are done with a school day you go home and grade tests from the week and prepare lesson plans for the next day. You also prepare lessons, projects, homework, and tests the whole summer as well as throughout the year.
Besides the fact that it's a lot harder than most people think, it's also a lot more important. People think the most important occupations follow along the lines of doctors, lawyers, and other well-paying jobs. Those are definitely important, but children would never come to the conclusion that they wanted to do that if they didn't attend school and have certain teachers that impacted them in those fields. There would be no doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers, or scientists if there weren't teachers.
Teachers impact students’ lives every day. They help shape students' minds and lay their foundation of knowledge across all subjects. Students wouldn't set goals for the future to become doctors if they didn't excel or find interest in what they learned in their science classes throughout their schooling years. Students would never pursue writing if they weren't taught how to form sentences and read novels. Students would never wish to be politicians if they didn't understand the importance government in this country, which would have been displayed to them in various Social Studies classes.
The point is, teachers directly effect students. Every successful teacher has one specific goal, and that's to motivate students to try their best. The classroom is a safe place for students to learn, they enjoy learning and that joy produces a passion for a future career path. Maybe people look down on teachers because GREAT teachers are few and far between, but most students can pinpoint a specific teacher or two from their past that really opened up their mind about a subject or really made them love it.
Think about it, without a great teacher no one would want to be anything. No one would find the drive in a specific subject or find something they were great in if a specific individual didn’t help open their eyes to it. I hope to be one of those impactful teachers that my students look back on and say was a positive stepping stone in their path towards the future.
Next time when someone tells you that they are a teacher or an education major, don’t roll your eyes or shake your head-- look at them with gratitude. After all, you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are now in the first place without some very beneficial teachers.