College has forced me to look deep within myself and determine what I really want in this life, career wise. I went from having a solid drawn plan to questioning my goals and dreams within a few weeks of stepping foot on Carolina’s campus. I had thoughts of being a lawyer after falling in love with one of my history classes. I thought perhaps I could be a nurse even if I did get queasy at the sight of blood or having to change a diaper. I also wondered about being a gynecologist, physician’s assistant, or orthodontist. And then I began wondering if perhaps I should change my career to education, which brought about many emotions.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
Growing up, I had two career goals. One was to become a pharmacist, while the other was to follow in both my parents’ footsteps and be an educator. Though the dream of pharmacy held stronger and won there are still many days I wonder what would have happened if I had decided to pursue education. When I was younger, I loved being able to force Malone to be my star pupil, while I would play pretend and be the teacher for hours on end. I loved helping my mother grade papers and then would later practice creating my own tests for Malone to take. My star pupil hated when I was in “teacher mode,” but she quickly learned she had no choice in the matter. I dreamed of the day I could have my own white board and command my own classroom. I also was excited about the fact that my summers would be spent by the pool and not in the classroom. However, as I got older I realized teaching was way more than simply grading papers and creating lesson plans. It is hours of learning the material so you can relay the information to your students. It is being a parent to 25 kids at one time. It is pushing students to ensure they excel. It is being a cheerleader, friend, and authoritative figure all in one and learning the balance in between the three. It is having the patience of a saint. It is being paid next to nothing to educate the future doctors, philosophers, scientists, and engineers of America. Teaching is hard; it is a challenge, but I believe it is one of the most rewarding challenges in this world.
"Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world."
There were so many reasons I wished to have been a teacher and so many reasons I am glad I am choosing another career. Most of the cons are chalked up to the crazy world we live in today. The class sizes keep getting bigger, which limits the amount of one on one time a teacher can spend with each child. The pay, like I stated earlier, is next to nothing. Seriously…it is next to nothing. Another con is the standardized tests. The grades students receive on these are not a reflection of the student, but on the teacher. A teacher’s success is based off of testing results, which are ludicrous. Students are simply not as driven and motivated as they once were. A teacher is responsible for teaching these individuals who show no interest in their education and then the teacher’s performance is based off these students’ test scores. Mhmm…does anyone else see an issue here? Despite popular belief, teachers also work many hours outside of the school day to ensure success in the classroom. Trust me, I live with two educators…I know that the school day does not end at 3 pm when the students are released. The pros are also numerous. The most rewarding is watching a child’s face light up when they finally master a concept. Another pro is hearing them thank you for all you have done for them. A teacher is able to watch a child grow and mature during their semester or year together. As a teacher you have the ability to teach children about concepts and things you are passionate about. You are never bored during your job; the students keep you on your toes always. A teacher is able to form bonds with their students and is someone the children can turn to during times of pain, joy, or distress.
"Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives."
I admire educators in the highest regard. It takes a special person to be a teacher and I am glad two raised me. The hard work, dedication, patience, and kindness teachers express are not lost on me. Some of my greatest heroes are the individuals who inspired me in the classroom. They molded me and shaped me into the person I am today. Without them, I have no clue where I would be. They pushed me to the limit and for that I am grateful. Their pushing instilled a drive in me that will carry on throughout my lifetime. Next time you see a teacher, thank them for all they do. Your thanks and praise may just reassure them they are making a difference in your life.
"If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother, and the teacher."