This I Believe

Angie - Seguin, Texas
Entered on July 27, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe I am meant to be a teacher.

I remember the day clearly; time to declare a major. I stood in the Registrar’s office with my slip, on which I was supposed to write my impending career. But what if I changed my mind? This paper, for all intents and purposes, would define my future— it was not something to take lightly. I decided on English because I liked it, but I had no idea what to do with it.

“Would you like Teacher Certification?” the person asked. I had apparently skipped something on my form.

“Um…no,” I replied. I thought to myself, I could never be a teacher; I don’t have the patience for that!

Fast forward through two journalism internships plus three years in retail, and I realized that I still had no direction. I hated the cut-throat side of journalism, and I despised the shallowness of retail. I desired something meaningful.

I went to see my college mentor who now taught high school English. She sought college students/graduates to tutor her students. I felt inspired! They yearned for knowledge, and I wanted to share. I looked forward to my time with them; I felt like it was meaningful for us all. I finally realized my place in life—the classroom.

I thought back to that day in the registrar’s office; I wanted to kick myself. Why didn’t I check “yes”?

First, I found a job at a charter school. Soon I was preparing lessons for first-graders. What do they learn in first grade? They learn to read. I know how to read, so I’m sure it won’t be too difficult teaching them to do so, right? WRONG!! I quickly realized I was in over my head. If I wanted to do this right, I needed to learn how. Back to school I went to earn a master’s degree in education with a focus in reading.

While pursuing this next level of my education, I learned a great deal about myself. I realized that elementary education is NOT for me. My personality and sense of humor are much better suited for teenagers. Secondary certification seemed a much better fit.

I’ve taught high school English for four years now. I realized that I can teach. I’ve also recognized that I do have patience when it comes to my students. I knew it the day my class declared to me that I would not last to the end of the week. I bravely stated my response, while trembling inside, “Yes I will. I am not your substitute; I am your teacher!” My courage that day solidified for me (and eventually for them) that I belonged there and that a few tough kids were not going to scare me away. That first year was extremely difficult in many ways.

I love teaching, and I hate certain aspects of it too. But I know it’s what I am meant to do.