The past few weeks a lot of people have been asking me the same exact question: why do you want to become a teacher? People in my proximity don’t seem to understand why anyone would commit their life to educating adolescents for a really no more than an average pay-rate, when a girl like me could easily work her way into media or communications and make so much more money. “You’re probably doing it for all the holidays, right?” Ha. Ha. Let’s sit down and have a talk, my friend.
First of all, I’m going to bust the myth that teachers get so much time off. Yes, indeed, you only need to teach for a set amount of hours, but it does not stop there – the hours in the week that you are not teaching, you are correcting tests, grading papers, and going through assignments. And as if that’s not enough, there are teacher meetings, parent meetings, extra teacher trainings so you stay up to date. And just when you think you’ve done it all, you still have lessons to plan, schedules to make, and while you’re juggling all that you still need to try and get a bunch of teenagers excited about Goddamn English grammar. So no – we do not get to chill the second the school bell rings or lay in the sun all summer long, and no, this will never be a reason why they teach for literally anyone who takes up teaching seriously.
Now, if it’s really as much work as you say it is and the pay-rate is average, then why do you want to teach? Teaching is more than just a job – as I said, your work doesn’t start and stop when the school bell rings. It is something you take home. If teaching is anything less than a passion to you, it will be very hard to keep going. And that’s what it is to me: a passion. I have been interested by the teaching progress from a very, very young age, and this interest only grew as I got older. I’m not going to lie: I have considered careers that pay better and interest me too, but none of those ever actually felt right the way teaching does. I would never be as passionate about journalism or being a writer for some important politician as I am for teaching – and should I really settle for anything less than loving my job just because it would pay better?
But why be so passionate about it? Teaching is a wonderful thing. Sure, part of it would be whining about perfect English grammar (which I, fyi, seriously despise myself) – but there is so much more to teaching than just teaching. You get to influence young people for the better. Teach them not only how to form the Past Perfect Tense, but also guide them on their journey to find themselves. Help them figure out who they are and who they want to be. As a teacher you can mean the difference in somebody’s life. And surely, they’ll think back on you ten years later and maybe hardly even remember your name – but they will remember what you meant to them, and that is what really counts. You will have helped someone become the person they want to be and managed to get their English grammar up to scratch. How is that not the coolest thing ever?
In the end, teaching is not a job you take on “because you need a job in order to make money”. It is something you take on because you want to make a difference in a person’s life, and because you want to help them get the education and general guidance they need. And that is why I want to be a teacher.
- L. Parole