I get asked all the time “why teaching? You’ll never make any money.” That might be true, I’ll never be the wealthiest woman alive. You can major in something that makes you happy, or something that makes money. Sure, they sometimes meet in the middle and you get the best of both worlds, but I want my days to end with a feeling of accomplish far beyond myself. I want my students to trust me, I want to be the teacher I always needed in high school. Teaching isn’t just standing in front of a room and lecturing students, it’s a position where you’re a role model, a co-parent, a support system, you can’t just talk and show Powerpoints all period, you have to enlighten your students and hopefully make them love your subject as much as you do. I cherish every second of it, and I couldn’t imagine being in any other field.
Being in school for the last sixteen years, I’ve encountered so many different types of educators. I’ve had my fair share of bad teachers, but I’ve also had so many wonderful instructors who enlightened me and made me understand the world in ways I never thought possible. Some that come to mind are Ms. Ritter, Mr. Hodge, Mrs. Humphrey, Professor Lawrence, Mr. Lutomski, and Professor Waldron. I remember them so fondly for a multitude of reasons but mostly for the sole reason that they improved me and made me feel like I had potential and purpose in the world. Even if Mrs. Humphrey did drench my yearbook spreads in red or purple ink (I’ve chosen pink pens as my grading tool, how can you be upset when there’s pink on your paper?!) She edited spreads so harshly because they mattered and I’m sure she knew I could do better.
There’s days I feel like giving up on it, kids are awful at times. I’ve had strawberry cupcake lube squirted into my Kate Spade purse, I had a kid rip out my nose ring, I get called mom at least once a week, sometimes I’m summoned by a poke on the butt, and there’s tons of students who don’t take me seriously at all. I’d rather them not take me seriously than be afraid of me. I never want to seem unapproachable or dogmatic to my students. I care about every single one of them despite their actions, and that’s what makes a real teacher. I want them to do well, I want them to put their mental health first, I want them to reach for the stars and become productive members of society regardless of their background and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get them there.
The point is, teachers are so important to the development of young minds. Next time you hear someone say they’re majoring in the field, don’t ask them if they know they’ll never make any money, or shake your head and ask why. Instead, you should applaud their efforts and leave the conversation knowing that the person you just spoke to could be teaching your children one day. I forget how amazing this profession is, until I’m reminded of it.
Forever and Always,
Song of the day? “Million Reasons” by: Lady Gaga