“What do I want to do?” I didn’t start off wanting to be a teacher. While I had teachers who inspired, invested, and impacted my life, it didn’t occur to me, especially while I was in school, that I would want to emulate their vocation. I wanted to be doing things – not teaching others how to do things. Yes, honestly, in my early years, that’s how I looked at it.
My list of dream job choices included running a theatre company, delivering the evening news, or writing a best selling novel. However, after I graduated from college, I found myself going in a different direction and re-asking “what do I want to do?” I went back to school to earn my teaching license, but it still felt like a back-up plan. My career path continued with twists and turns and while I did work with kids I didn’t teach in a classroom right away.
In fact, it was not until I had my own kids that I had the “defining moment.” I was standing in the parking lot at my kid’s school talking to the principal and feeling frustrated. The reasons for the frustration don’t matter as much as the epiphany that I had when I realized — I could do this teaching thing and I would be really good at it. I’m still not sure that it was the “right” inspiration, but it was the inspiration that I needed to make it happen. Reflecting on that, it’s easier to understand now who I am as a teacher.
I love the challenge. Bring on the kids that are hard to teach. No excuses – no blaming – let’s figure this thing out and get these kids reading, thinking, and passionate about learning. I never feel like I am staying behind teaching the stuff that other do. Instead I know that I’m doing really important stuff– stuff that’s not all that easy to do– stuff that really makes a difference. It’s not glamorous – honestly, hanging out with middle school kids is the opposite of glamorous, but it is, as it turns out, that answer to “what I want to do?”