Why I Want To Be A Teacher

From the moment we begin our formal schooling as preschoolers, we are continually being asked the same annoying questions throughout our lives; What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years? Most people change their answers as they grow older as their interests change. I know I certainly did. If you would’ve asked me these questions when I was five, I would’ve said a painter (even though I’ve never been able to draw for the life of me). If you would’ve asked me these questions when I was 10, I would’ve said a pastry chef. If you would’ve asked me these questions when I was 12, I would’ve said a finance woman (HA! Math is actually my worst nightmare!). If you would’ve asked me these questions when I was a freshman up until a junior in high school, I would’ve said a marriage and family therapist. 

It wasn’t until the summer going to into my senior year of high school that I finally came to grips with what I wanted to do with my life. As I was applying to different colleges that August and was scrolling though the many different majors, it seemed as though one kept calling my name: Elementary Education. And in all honestly, it didn’t come as a surprise to me. 

From a very young age, my parents have raised me to appreciate and realize the importance of education. They put emphasis on hard work, studying, good grades, and most importantly, learning and becoming a more enlightened individual. Throughout my schooling and life, I kept these principles close to me, and I still do. Being exposed to these important factors so young ignited a spark in me to give education back to others as a teacher. You know the expression “It’s in the blood?” I 100% believe that teaching is in my blood. My grandfather from my mom’s side was a math teacher in a boarding school in Cuba. My mom (an FIU alum) is a middle school intensive reading and ESE teacher. My aunt is a teacher’s assistant, my cousin (also an FIU alum) is a professor and admissions director at Miami-Dade College, and his wife is a teacher with her own tutoring business. Education definitely runs in the family.

 

Credit: Reader's Digest 

As a child, from around seven to 10 years old, I was that kid that would play “teacher” all. the. time. I asked my parents to put a whiteboard in the playroom, and would constantly beg them to buy me colorful dry-erase markers from Office Depot. I had a bunch of folders filled with different math and spelling worksheets for my imaginary students. Every time my mom and I would make a trip to the dollar store, I would always run to the teachers’ supplies section and scour the aisle for the cutest decorations for my “classroom” (I still do this. Guilty.) In fifth grade, I was a “reading buddy” for a Pre-K 3 classroom each morning before my class started. I’ve never been a morning person, but I remember waking up every morning that year full of excitement to spend time with those little peanuts. In middle school and the beginning of high school, I volunteered each summer at a local church’s vacation bible school as a teen helper. My love for children and setting an example for them blossomed and blossomed. 

Even though the thought of being a teacher was present in my mind from a young age, it was something I constantly tried to push away. I was always being told that teachers “don’t make any money”, “work too hard”, and/or are “too strict”, which are negative statements that I still hear to this day. Back then, I allowed these statements to discourage me. As I grew up, the annoying questions persisted, and I tried to find other careers that could earn me more money while still possibly making me happy.

I attended a college-prep high school, so from day one I was told to start thinking about college and the future. My fellow peers would confidently share their intended plans of going to medical school, law school, and business school when asked about their aspirations for their futures. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to study, I would simply say psychology, even though deep down I knew I didn’t have the mental strength to ever become a therapist. 

While filling out my first college application last summer (which happened to be FIU!), I gathered myself together and proudly put “Elementary Education” as my intended major. I instantly felt a wave of relief and peace. It felt good to finally embrace a passion that I had been disregarding for so long. 

 

Credit: PruQuest Learning

Nowadays, when people ask me  what my major is, I get two kinds of reactions. I either get something along the lines of “AWWWW, that’s soooooooo cute! I can sooooo see you being a teacher!” or “You seriously want to be teacher?! I’m soooo glad there are people like you that want to be a teacher, because I could NEVER be around screaming kids all day. You won’t be making any money.” I don’t let these negative reactions affect me anymore, because at the end of the day who’s going to have their summers off for the rest of their life?? ME! 

Okay, okay, in all seriousness I have yet to answer the big question: Why? Why do I want to be a teacher? Why do I want to work so hard for so little pay and appreciation? I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference in a child’s life, and help them appreciate the beauty and gift of education as I was taught. I want to teach my future students not only academic matters, but lessons about life and being good, kind-hearted people. I hope to educate and enlighten this next generation’s minds, and give them the tools they need to be the best people they can be.I don’t think people realize how essential teachers are, and how much of an important role they play in the lives of students of any age or background. There is currently a shortage of teachers in this country, which is an extremely scary reality. Without teachers, there would be no doctors, lawyers, business people, politicians, or any profession as we know it. 

I currently volunteer every Friday in a kindergarten classroom at my sisters’ charter school. I’m also a tutor at my cousin’s tutoring business. Therefore, I’m already getting my feet in the water and catching little glimpses of my future. I already call these kids my students, and each week is a new adventure. Sure, my tutoring kids can get on my nerves when they decide to fool around instead of doing their homework. Sure, my kindergarten kiddies act like they’re on a nonstop sugar high. Sure, I get doubts about my career and if I’m making the right choice. But at the end of the day, I’m excited and confident for the bright future ahead of me, and I’m ready to face and overcome any obstacles that might come my way. As my mother always says, “Everyone is someone because of a teacher”, and I hope to be that teacher to some bright eyed, amazing children someday. 

 

My kindergarten kiddies. Aren't they the cutest?!