As a child I was always one of those kids who enjoyed, and did well in school. Believe me I was not without my faults, in fact I had my share of troubles as a young student in poverty ridden inner city school. But there was always something in school that made me feel at home, sometimes it was the teachers, sometimes my fellow classmates, and sometimes events that occurred throughout my schooling. As a full grown college student, by my second semester I had realized how I actually wished to spend my life, at home, at an elementary school. After a few more semesters I noticed that I had very strong feelings towards how I wanted to teach, and who I am as an educator.
There were many events in elementary, middle, and high school that always pointed to me being an educator of some sort, some subconsciously, and some very much directly. I’d say the first event that brought me to where I am is so very ironic that it is down right weird. Obviously while sitting in Mrs. Rush’s first grade class the last thing I was thinking of was what I wanted to be when I grew up. But one day I was asked to explain something to the class, the next day I was asked the same, and the next day once again the same. Eventually I found myself just being told what I was explaining, and then just explaining it to the class without even asking. At one point I was even aloud to write the names of disruptive students on the board. While I was busy "teaching" Mrs. Rush would file her nails and clean out her purse. Of course Mrs. Rush hid this well, in fact this was not found out until the next year when kids in my second grade class began to mention it to our new teacher. Of course my memory of this is fairly vague, but all my teachers from school talk about it all the time. I just thought that maybe that importance, that fun I had explaining things, maybe it served towards me wanting to be a teacher in the future. Another event that made me want to be a teacher was is sixth grade. Mr. Wirth would always have us do times table races, a one on one competition in a round robin way using flash cards. I always thought how cool it would be to have my own classroom, and run my own math tournaments, how much fun would that be. In middle school I spent a lot of my time teaching music to my fellow students. I was the only person who could afford private lessons, and so I helped the others learn as best I could. To me this says that I wanted to teach. It made me feel so good when I could give a classmate a five and a pat on the back because they could do something they had never done before. In high school I began to give private trumpet lessons to elementary children. I had so much fun with my kids, and so much frustration. This always taught me the patience I never had before. These kids always came into my lessons with a smile, and it made me feel so good.
Throughout my schooling there have been teachers and many others that have influenced my desire to become a teacher. As always I hate to list things, but I wanted to mention my top three people who have changed my life totally for the better. First, Brian Bucec (High school band director, Battle Creek Central), Mr. Bucec and I are like best friends, we still talk monthly, he is my musical mentor. I was to be a music major before elementary education saved me. But Mr. Bucec did not just help me with being a good musician, he showed me what a good teacher can be. He also taught me one of my most valued moral terms: Always have fun in what you are doing, and you will succeed at it. Well, that pushed me away from music, but towards elementary education. He influenced me to be myself, which is a child at heart. In music I had to grow up so quick I forgot who I was, I lost the fun!! Mr. Bucec suggested that I find what makes me happy, and I did, children!! Mrs. Haskins (Franklin Elementary, Battle Creek) Mrs. Haskins was the teacher for me. I cannot tell you how much she changed my outlook on how school should be. She was the first teacher I ever had who put us in groups, not rows. Everything we did in that class was interactive, and so much fun. One day though, Mrs. Haskins said something to my class that I will always remember. She said "My day would not be the same without you kids." That right there makes me want to be a teacher, I want to say that to my class some day. I want to be enjoying what I am doing so much, that it doesn’t seem like I am even working, to me teaching children is the ONLY thing that can do that. Mr. Doug Wirth (Franklin elementary, Battle Creek). My sixth grade teacher, a man I respect more than almost anyone I know. He taught in a way no one else would have even dared, not to us, but with us. We would go on walks around the neighborhood and wax leaves, we would go rock hunting. We had physical activity exercises, we had math competitions where the winner would go to a regional competition in Kalamazoo. Everything we did was fun, everything we did was an absolute blast, and everything we did taught me more than I had learned in all my previous classes behind. When in Mr. Wirth’s class I felt I could be anything I wanted to be. I had never experienced such variety in a classroom, it was great. When I decided to become an elementary teacher, Mr. Wirth was the first person I called to let him know. I did this because he was who influenced me in my decision. I wanted to be just like him, I wanted to teach what he taught, I wanted to grasp those little minds and show them what they can give themselves; true, honest, and actual developmental self-freedom.
Why am I going to be a teacher? Why do I feel that I have chosen the right path for myself, and who I am going to be? As mentioned before I did not start out as an elementary education major. Coming out of high school being able to fluently play five major instruments, kind of writes the book for you in college. I was enjoying my status as an instrumentalist for about a month, then it began to happen. With every lesson came a "stupid" or a "have you even practiced". Every lesson one little mistake turned into one big ordeal. Playing my trumpet was losing its interest fast. I was no longer having fun in what I was doing, I was actually becoming very depressed, and thinking down on myself. So I got out!! What to do now, under university curriculum, and totally lost? Not more than a week later I went to group advising. They sent me to Sangren hall with elementary group advising. Actually this sounded very interesting to me, and it made me remember how much fun I did have when I was in elementary school. On top of that I have always done well with kids. I am one of those people who can always seem to make a kid listen without yelling, and without a bribe. I can relate to kids, because I am one at heart. I like to play, I like to joke, and I like to have fun. But I have the knowledge that goes along with it. I can relate to a lot of kids because of the multi-cultural school I came from. I want to be a teacher because I know I can change someone’s life. I love children and I love to help people learn new things, with a lot of help from me, or with just a little. I feel I can instill in these little minds more knowledge than they ever thought possible, but they will still have fun with it. I want to help these kids learn through each other, I want to show them how to help each other in so many ways. All my life I have been looking to god for a sign of what I should do, of what I need to do, and who I am. Guess what, god showed me the way. I believe in my deepest heart of hearts that teaching is the noblest profession on this green earth. I believe that kids are the key to everything the future has to offer. I believe that I can be a great teacher, and a mentor to the future of America. I want to be a teacher to help give confidence to young kids across the country, I want to change their outlooks on who they are and what they have the power to do. I want to show a kid that he or she can be whatever they desire, and ARE whatever they desire. I want to give them the power to control their own destiny, to take it outside of the holds society has on us. I want to show my students that I care, I want to show students that they should all care about each other. Teaching to me is the art of feeding the mind, the heart, and the soul with there own food to help them grow into who they truly are. If on of my students feels they cannot reach there full potential then I have failed as a teacher. I can only hope that I will change someone’s life for the better, that god will guide my hand to touch the heart of many children, and show them there full potential.
My Final Statement
I am a teacher, I am who I am. That is all I want to be. Life is too short to not recognize the startling ability of every child to create from what is not even there yet. As adults I believe we lose so much to what we believe we have to be, when all we have to be is ourselves. I want to be a teacher because children only know themselves, they are not yet tainted by the ugliness of the world. My wish is to help maintain this untainted soul, and to show children the beauty that life, and growth can withhold. My goal is to teach, and to learn how to be untainted myself once again. The best teachers are the teachers who listen and learn more than they talk and teach. A child is an amazing creation, we can either blind our children with traditions and ideas, or we can feed their minds with creativity and joy. This is what I want to do as an educator. I want to be a teacher because life is precious, children are precious, and so am I.