Why I Chose To Be A Middle School Teacher
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Student Life

Why I Chose To Be A Middle School Teacher

Spoiler alert: it wasn't for the pay.

Why I Chose To Be A Middle School Teacher

My entire life it was common knowledge that I was going to one day and grow up to be a teacher, even when I insisted I wasn’t going to teach. I had phases of wanting to be an astronaut, a librarian, and a child psychologist, but now I find myself at the beginning of my senior year of college majoring in middle grades education. The first reaction I get when I tell people I’m going to teach middle school kids tends to be people telling me that I’m brave or I’m stupid, because for many, this is the age they remember as being the worst. It’s a question that, while not intended to be insulting, has become a large source of frustration for me. I have to take a breath and remind myself that for many people, this age was personally the hardest and that paints their opinion in harsh lighting.

When I went to declare my major and decide which grade level I wanted to teach, I kept finding myself feeling uncompelled to teach primary or high school. My heart was drawn to the middle school degree program. I was hesitant at first, and I remembered how awful my years in middle school had been, but as I put aside all of the personal things and focused on my teachers I realized that a major turning point in my life was all thanks to one amazing teacher. As I submitted my application to the education program I wanted to be like her for someone. If I could be for a student what she was for me, I would have done my job.

My first school as a student teacher was the complete opposite of the one I had grown up in. I was sent in to a school with a rough reputation and told that the kids who attended the school were going to be hard to love. I never for a moment felt anything negative towards my students, and even when I had one call me a not-so-nice name I was able to realize that he didn’t mean it. The kids at this school faced so many challenges that no kids should have to face: some of them were dealing with poverty, some were living in gang territories, and some were being parents to younger siblings at home. As I moved from school to school I saw more and more of this. These kids weren’t bad because of their age. They were just kids. They know that people see them as bratty or obnoxious and they think no one cares for them and so they decide to act like it and live up to the expectation.

I’ve never regretted my decision. Even when the days are long and the work seems to be an endless pile I remind myself that I’m not doing this for myself but for my future students. I save all of the drawings and notes my students have given me over the semesters and they teach me just as much as I teach them. They are funny, kind, smart, and so very capable of doing anything they dream of if supported and encouraged. I’ve been to so many schools and sat in so many classrooms and I’ve realized that at the end of the day all of these kids want to be known, they want to be understood, and even though they will never say it, they all just want to be loved.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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