Today I gave a ride to one of our wonderful college volunteer tutors. This delightful college freshman has offered an hour of her time each week to work with a struggling high school student- not because she has to, but because she wants to. As we were driving back to campus, out of the blue she asked “Why did you become a teacher?” This is not the first time I have been asked the question. And I’m sure it’s not the last.
I always feel a tad guilty about my answer. I started college as a nursing major, then switched to Occupational Therapy. I volunteered in a hospital and found I really lacked the passion for the work. I loved the people and I liked helping, just not in that way. I must confess I was influenced greatly by my reading of the Cherry Ames series. Her life made nursing sound so glamorous- young, single doctors, mysteries, adventures as an island nurse, dude ranch nurse, private nurse. Reality does not really match fiction!
So, what was I to do with myself? I worked my way through college as a manager at Burger King. I had a crew of mostly high schoolers and I really enjoyed working with them. Someone suggested I should be a teacher. So, off I went to the college counselor, switched my major to English so I could teach high school and the, rest, as they say, is history. I was a good student, not great. I was excited about the future prospect of teaching kids, but not necessarily enthralled with classes on American Lit and grammar.
Why did I become a teacher? To this day, as a woman of faith, I believe that a greater power than myself guided me into education. While it seems I happened into the profession almost by accident, once there, I have known almost every day of my career that I am exactly where I was meant to be. I can’t imagine a day without watching the joy and wonder of a young person uncovering new ideas and the joy of discovery.
Why? Good question…but more important “Is this the right place for me?’ To that I can answer a resounding “Yes!”