To all who believe teaching is for those that can't,
People often ask me why I want to teach, and I know I'm not the only one who's received such inquiries. I've never had the words to explain why, in the face of more and more persecution of the education field, not to mention the deplorable wages, I still want to become not only an educator, but a teacher. After reviewing some stories of why other professionals entered the field of education, I think I finally know how to articulate the appeal that seems to be so difficult for most people to comprehend. I've been involved in athletics since I was four years old. Now, I've made the transition from competitive player to coach. The same passion spectators saw in me on the court and in the field is present in my soul for literature and learning. I can't wait for the day I get to share that passion with the future of my community, state, country, and maybe even world. It's like coaching: if nobody took the time to develop a throw, we'd never have seen the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, or Hank Aaron, just like if nobody took the time to develop a love for literature and writing, two critical skills that can never become obsolete, we'd never have had J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, or Stephen Hawking. Someone had to develop the future leaders of tomorrow. I will not only be educating my students in the field of language arts, but I will also be teaching them about how to be functioning members of society.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "The best way to predict your future is to create it." People often ask why I would waste my 32 ACT score on ungrateful, sassy teenagers who don't really want to be in the classroom anyway. To that I say: why would you want anyone less than seemingly one of the most qualified in each field molding the minds of the future- the future that affects both you and me. In an article entitled "Why Teachers are Not Those that Can't", Emily Moore, a Princeton graduate turned educator, applied for a job outside the realm of education and was asked why she would waste her degree on teaching. Her response was simple: "Who would you rather have teaching your children?" That in no way is meant to imply that you have to score a 32 on your ACT to be an effective teacher. I would rather someone who scored a 24 with real passion for education be teaching my children than someone who scored a 36 who doesn't care about my kids. This may seem redundant, but I cannot stress enough how senseless it is to entrust the future of your societies to anyone who lacks the passion, love of learning, and skills to mold them into the best possible versions of themselves. Teaching is so much more than making children memorize where to put commas and how to use context clues to define a word. Make no mistake; I am not saying those aren't important. What I mean to emphasize is that not only will I and my fellow educators be charges with the task of preparing students to score highly on standardized tests, but we are also responsible in part for cultivating the next generation of society.
More than anything, if you've ever questioned why someone with such talent would waste it on a $40,000 per year salary, thank you. Thank you for inspiring people like me to find the words to convey how important it is to follow a passion that touches more lives than any other career. Thank you for strengthening that passion and for allowing us not only to explain to you why we want to do what we want to do, but also for allowing us to remind ourselves why we want to do what we want to do. The next time you feel like asking "Why do you want to teach when you could do so much more?", try just asking "Why do you want to teach?". You won't be disappointed.