Share #YourEdustory week 8: “What was the defining moment you decided to be a teacher?”
I couldn’t pinpoint just one moment of when I decided to become a teacher. Because I believe it was something that was built upon as my life unfolded. More of a journey than a defining moment. In fact, I might even say it is something that continues to build (or rather be reinforced).
However, here is a little bit of a history about my path to becoming a teacher…
Coming from a family history of teachers and administrators, I knew well the challenges of the teaching profession. Perhaps it was the influence of my mother or grandfather, but whatever it was I have always known that teaching was the career path of my future.
For me it was a question of, “A teacher of what?”
My first desire to become a teacher was in high school. I have always held a special spot for people with special needs and being a teacher in special education was my first interest. I used one of my free periods in high school to assist a special education teacher on campus. Through this experience I was able to bond with new friends and learn to have more compassion for the other students in my high school with whom had special needs.
I also had an inspiring English teacher my senior year of High School. She inspired me to believe that I had to be a high school English teacher to teach high schoolers to have a love of literature, poetry, and writing.
Then in college, I was so fascinated with all the doors that were opening up in my learning! I took a class about anthropology and I wanted to major in that. I took a class about geology and then I wanted to major in that. I was completely fascinated with learning at the college level and having choice in my classes. But it wasn’t until I volunteered in an elementary school for a college class requirement, that I fell in love with teaching children. I embraced the curiosity and innocence of the younger students and I felt right at home with the children with whom I worked. It was then that I began to study early childhood development and focused my studies on elementary education.
I dove into my studies of education. I quit my job at the coffee cart in the BMU at Chico State and got a job working in a pre-school to gain experience working with children. I began taking more Spanish classes so I could improve my language skills and the best classes I took in college were the classes that focused on education.
After college I moved back to San Diego County and got my teaching credential at CSU San Marcos and I couldn’t wait until I nailed down my first contract.
But I didn’t REALLY know that I was on the right path until I had my first class. Until I saw 20 sets of eyes looking to me. My true learning and inspiration came from my first class of kindergartners and first graders. I was able to loop my kindergartners from my first year of teaching and teach them first grade as well. It was the last day of their first grade year when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I saw those first graders leave my classroom as readers and writers and my heart was full. They had come to me in kindergarten, some of them not even knowing how to write their name, hold a pencil, and sing ABCs. Then all of the sudden, two years later, they were walking away from my classroom ready to take hold of the world as readers.
Through my 16 years of teaching, I continue to know I picked the right path for my life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than teaching. As a teacher I can continue to be advocate for children and continue to be learner myself. With each new class comes a new adventure. A new journey for my students and I to embark together.
Henry David Thoreau says, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Through my 16 years of teaching, I continue to become a teacher. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than teaching. With each new class comes a new adventure. A new journey for my students and I to embark upon together.
To learn more about the Share #YourEdustory movement, visit this link.