I see the way your expression changes from anticipation to disappointment when I answer your question with: "I'm going to college to be a teacher."
It's written all over your face. You aren't fooling me when you say, " Oh really? That's great!"
I know that in your head you are blessing my heart and asking why not a doctor or a lawyer or a nurse. I understand because when I started college, I swore I would never be a teacher. But I changed my mind, and I hope that you do too.
I hear all the time that education is an easy major, something to fall back on if all else fails.
Believe me when I say this is not the case.
Before I decided to take the educator route, I was a nursing major. On countless occasions, I pulled all nighters studying for a lab practical on all the bones, not to mention the muscles in your body.
Let me just tell you, even the least muscular of us all are very muscular.
It was insanely stressful, but it was equally or possibly even more stressful to put together my first lesson plan.
I spent hours stressing over whether my "I can..." statements were actually obtainable for my hypothetical students, cross-referencing Bloom's Taxonomy, and checking my objectives twice.
All the while, I was contemplating how I could use differentiated learning to teach To Kill a Mockingbird, asking myself incessantly if this would help adequately prepare my students for the state's test that I can't give you a name for because it changes from year to year and really day to day. This is the beautiful reality of education.
I didn't choose this career because it's the "ideal mom job." Neither did I choose this career because I get my summers off, which is a myth anyway. Great teachers never stop thinking about their jobs.
Yes, they may not be reporting for set hours, but their eyes and minds are always looking for a way to incorporate a big political event or a new book release into the classroom. Our jobs are never done, and if they are, then we aren't doing our jobs.
I also did not go into education for the money, because it is just not there.
I struggled with this for a long time.
It's why I was a nursing major and before that a pre-med major.
We instill in our children that success is measured by the zeros at the end of your check or the title in front of your name. That could not be further from the truth. It's in the difference you make, the kind of person you are, and the happiness you take home with you.
You determine your own success, and that is precisely why I have chosen to be a teacher.
Day in and day out you entrust your kids to me. I get to know them: their strengths, their weaknesses, and their goals. I get to teach them about a subject that I love. I get to give them the one gift that no one can ever take away-- knowledge. I have the privilege of watching them learn and grow.
I get to clap for them when nothing else is going right. Some days my smile may be the only one they see. The Michelle Obama ordained lunch may be their only meal for the day. The minutes spent in my classroom may be the only peace they experience.
I get to let them know that someone always cares about them and is always cheering for them. I get to let each and every student feel that they are valuable, important, and that they matter.
I get the opportunity to touch so many lives and to get paid for it! Think again about the importance of my job. All the greats had teachers. I could have the next John F. Kennedy or Peyton Manning in my classroom, highly unlikely, but still a chance!
You see, I am not selling myself short, I am living up to what God has called me to be. In my opinion, I could not think of a more noble career.
You can go ahead and bless my heart. I'll need it because this job can always use blessings.
I know that every day isn't going to be inspirational, and just like at your job, there will be days that I want to throw in the towel and walk away. Not all kids are angels; I know this for a fact. But I get to spend the rest of my life doing what makes me happy, and that's more than enough for me.
I would have made a terrible doctor anyway...