The decision to enter a career in teaching is not something to be taken lightly. There are hundreds and hundreds of other careers to choose from . So I ask myself this question and ponder the reasons, why I want to become a teacher. Upon asking another teacher this question I got a quick response of June, July, and August. There has to be more to it than just summer vacation, right? Some of the other reasons people might give are such things like: extrinsic and intrinsic rewards; they feel a calling to teach; a chance to positively impact the community; having a commitment to students; and being a good role model. But just what does all this mean to me and my pursuit to be an educator? Ultimately, I believe it will lead to a brighter future for me, and for my family.
Let us take a little deeper look at some of the rewards of teaching. Everyone wants to be recognized for things they do in life, whether they are willing to admit it or not. I would love one day to have my name called out at an assembly to receive a certificate, plaque, or maybe even a banner, for being awarded Teacher of the Year. This would be a really great way to mark my accomplishments and distinguish myself among my colleagues. Teaching is not all about fame and recognition though. I think what will drive me more than anything will be the intrinsic rewards. Knowing that I am doing a job that makes a difference, like teaching a child how to read and write, learn what respect is, and take responsibility for their actions will be meaningful. Those things alone are far more valuable than rewards of recognition or money.
Another reason some might chose to become a teacher is they feel a calling or vocation towards education. Sharon Mills Draper, who was a Cincinnati public school teacher of 27 years, once said that teaching has been her "calling and vocation," describing herself as a teacher who "teaches because I must. It is in my heart and soul; part of the definition of me. I end up teaching wherever I am." (Donaldson, n.d.) That is a pretty powerful statement I ran into while brainstorming the concept of teaching as a calling or vocation. I cannot identify with Draper specifically, but with the limited classroom experiences that I have had, I know there is a voice inside me telling me I belong there, and it feels good.
Another important aspect of becoming a teacher for me is having the power to possibly make a difference. I hope that by having a strong commitment to my students it will transcend to having a positive impact on the community as well. I think teachers have a moral obligation to be good role models in every area of their life. I believe this is especially important for the character development of students. Children who are respectful and behave appropriately, by following a teacher's example, will be conducive to, and ultimately infectious, in creating similar environments around them wherever they go in life.
Being an educator can mean many different things to many different people. Some might look at it as merely a job, or source of income, to pay the bills. Others might see it as a more meaningful career. For me, becoming a teacher means I get a chance to make a difference in a young person's life and maybe even that person's community, and that makes me feel good inside. At the end of the day, I know I will have made a powerful difference in my own life too. And in doing so, I believe these steps will ensure a brighter future for me and my family to look forward to.
Donaldson , Catherine V. (n.d.) Black Biography: Sharon Mills Draper. Life's Work. Retrieved November 19, 2010, from http://www.answers.com/topic/sharon-mills-draper.