Just a Teacher


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a question everyone gets asked on career day in elementary school.
There are some who answer with a doctor, police officer, firefighter, or veterinarian, even though the words often come out so jumbled that only their parents can understand. Others say they want to work as an actor, at a school, as a construction worker, and such.
When I was asked that question, my answer shifted between marine biologist, veterinarian, or zoologist. Big words and big careers for a little kid who wasn’t sure and too afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
I didn’t know for the majority of my life, and the forced deadline of figuring it out was getting closer and closer. The stress and panic of finding colleges before graduation made me realize that I didn’t need a degree from a fancy college. All I need is a path that I can walk on my own and come out relatively okay.
Last semester I thought it might be cool to take a class that would allow me to help teach at the elementary level. I’ve always been good with kids and I am around them often, so I thought it would be a good thing to try out.
I enjoyed helping the kids, but the conversations to provide a really strong connection were missing and lacking. The conversations and connections I had with the kids missed the depth I would need to have to be able to teach properly.
Not to mention the many negatives under the job description in teeny-tiny, fine print: teachers are underpaid, overworked, taken advantage of, and the lack of respect is a whole case on its own. There were too many negatives to count to make the deciding factor of what I wanted to go into.
Though the overwhelming stress, burnout, political attacks, and staff shortages are all factors, it didn’t seem pleasant. However, I remember the teachers who helped me get to where I am now, and I don’t see any other career path that would be better for me.
Despite these conditions, teachers dedicate themselves to teaching a younger generation in an interest similar to theirs. If I have the chance and the opportunity to teach the upcoming generations what I had to learn on my own, why not take it?
Going into education gives you an opportunity to spark change. A teacher does more than provide students with the academic knowledge to be successful, they also inspire the next generation. Throughout their students’ journey, educators motivate them to be all they can be and give them the tools to transform themselves. The challenge is to create an equitable experience for every student that allows them to explore their cultural, racial, and ethnic identity. This enables the student to be enlightened by the world around them and have their voices elevated no matter what they hear or see reflected in society. Any student deserves an education responsive to who they’re becoming. Teachers create that and the space for the students to thrive in.
So much of the job gets lost in if it’s performed well, the pay, if the students are acceptable, the content being taught, and not how much effort teachers really put into the learning environment.
My future career should not be jeopardized because of negative perceptions, as there are many negatives to all careers. The positives that come with teaching are often overlooked. Teachers everywhere are changing lives right this second and should be given the same respect as any other working person and then some. My career choice should not be something you can look down on and think that’s okay.
Teachers are often seen as mindless robots by the public and even in the classroom. They shouldn’t be treated as such. They are human, I am human, and my emotions and feelings will go directly into my work as an educator. If educators don’t put a part of their soul into the material they teach, the essence of the power of education gets lost. Teachers put a little part of themselves into everything they do and shouldn’t be treated differently because of this.
I wanted to change the world as a kid. I saw all of the bad, nasty, people, and I wanted to mold the world into something that would help them turn into someone who could grow from it. That’s why I was afraid of saying “I don’t know” because that description sounds like I wanted to be a superhero and to do the impossible. I hated the idea of sounding like a child when I knew my voice was louder than what others made me seem like.
Changing the world isn’t impossible if you can be a part of one person’s developing perspective and the world they see and be able to teach them. Change can be made, and that’s exactly what teachers do. They change the world, one universe at a time.


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