Next month, I start student teaching and that is going to be a start to my career. Obviously, it won’t be normal because of the current circumstances. Regardless, I am still so excited to embark on that journey as it has been something that I have been actively looking forward to for the past 4 years. Starting this new chapter in my life has made me re-ask myself the question of why do I want to be a teacher? After reflecting on it for a little bit, I reminded myself of the answer.
The answer is deceitfully simple. It’s the backstory and reasoning to my answer that is more complex and comes with it that makes it not as simple. I believe that teachers have the power to change the world, and I want to change the world. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to make this world a better place. I have always wanted to change it for the good because I always saw the good in it. When bad things would happen, I would ask my parents why because those events never made sense to me. Then there would be amazing events like the US electing the first Black President. That happened when I was 9 years old, and I remember watching the Inauguration with the entire 4th grade in elementary school. It was a historic event, and it was so cool to see that change happen. Watching that made me believe that maybe I could change the world someday.
At the end of the 5th grade, there was an award ceremony for all of the 5th graders. It’s been over 10 years, but I still remember the award I got because that’s how influential it was to me. When I was in 5th grade, I got the “The Role Model” Award. I remember getting the award that meant the school and teachers thought I was a good role model for the younger kids in the school. I remember loving that I got that award because it felt like an honor to get the award, and I wanted to be that way for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a role model for everyone. That desire stayed with me. Almost every day I asked myself how I could be the best role model to others. I asked myself what I could do to be better (I still made a PLETHORA of mistakes, growing up. Trust me, I was FAR from perfect and still am far from perfect.) I asked myself this because as a kid, I very much played the beat to my drum. I didn’t care about whatever the status quo was, and I was nice to everyone. I wore boy clothes every day in elementary school because they were so comfortable. I was a good student (back then everyone was though), I didn’t care about cliques, I didn’t care about friend groups, I was very honest with myself and others, and I just wanted to accept and lift everyone around me. Being mean was never a thought in my mind because I never understood why anyone would intentionally want to make someone’s day worse. I liked this side of my personality because I was comfortable with who I was, and I wanted to find a career path that enabled me to be a role model to others and teach others how not to care about other people’s opinions of themselves.
Growing up, I thought being a meteorologist was how I could be a role model to everyone… Meteorology is a cool science, but during my senior year of high school, I realized that it wasn’t the way that I wanted to be a role model to others and change the world. That left me kind of stuck because it was what I had planned since I was a kid. I started looking at the people who surrounded me. Those were my friends, my parents, and my teachers. Throughout my upbringing, I looked up to all of my teachers. Particularly my science teachers. I still remember my first favorite teacher where I got excited to go to their class every day. It was my 7th-grade science teacher, even though I spent a lot of my time in 7th grade home sick. I remember being sad that I missed their class, but I always pushed myself to work harder and harder in that class because I loved them so much. Outside of my parents and nanny, my 7th grade teacher was one of my first role models growing up. They never made me feel like an outcast in their classroom.
As I reflected and asked myself what I wanted to do with my life. I realized that teachers are role models, which is how they change the world. They do this by making the classroom a safe space for students to explore who they are as a person, which is exactly what I want to do with my life. I want to promote acceptance and integrity in my classroom. I want to promote that in life, the best way to get ahead is by building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Part of that is about having integrity and standing by your morals. Having integrity and doing the “right” thing or being the bigger person is something that has always been important to me. It is not always easy, but it will be so much better for everyone in the long run. I want to teach that to my students. I remember witnessing how my teachers would practice that, and it was just the coolest thing to witness. I want to spread that message to the generations to come.
At the end of the day, being a teacher is about helping people by being that role model in the classroom. Last semester when I was applying to grad schools, I was reflecting on my happiest moments in college. In college, I have spent over 400 hours doing community service. There would be periods when I would be incredibly emotional to some extent. Whether it was depressed and miserable or stressed out, one thing that never failed to make me feel happy was by doing community service and helping people. This is one of my weirdest stories, but one night I was falling asleep and I dreamt that I was having a conversation with someone as to why I like doing service. In that conversation in my dream, I reflected on how volunteering makes me feel, and I concluded that helping people and doing community service is my purpose in life. Whenever I do it, it makes me feel this inexplicable feeling like I am whole and that I am at my best self. It was such a surreal feeling, that I woke up from that dream and wrote it down in my notes so I could remember it in the morning. Here’s a screenshot of the note to prove it. It was in all caps because that’s how I felt at 1 in the morning on a Sunday night.
Teachers change the world by being role models and by helping people. I have always to be wanted a role model, and in college, I have felt my best volunteering and helping people. All of that mixed with my passion for earth science as my vehicle to be a teacher and be who I am in the classroom, which has always been a safe space for me. Teaching is the career that combines all of that.
That is why I want to be a teacher.
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