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We are running out of teachers. Good, passionate, serious teachers. Either they’re simply growing older and caring less or the younger ones are giving up way too easily. Most people look at me funny or try to change my mind when I tell them I’m currently studying to become an English teacher; a high school educator, to boot. Time after time I hear: “Oh! Are you SURE you want to teach? I mean, in this day and age you’d be so disrespected and the kids are insane.” When as a matter of fact, those same reasons you wouldn’t be a part of the school system, are the reasons I will be.
I first decided that education may be something I could do as a career was when I was a junior in high school. My English teacher was the kind of woman that used big vocabulary words, worked at a fast pace and if you couldn’t keep up, then that was your fault. A friend of mine was having a hard time getting good grades on essays because of this. One day, I offered to help her and she accepted, ready to try anything. I re-worded the instructions and the rubric requirements to help her read it in a dialect she understood and sure enough she got her first “A” on that essay. Then it dawned on me, so many kids have this issue. In that moment I promised that I would be the teacher to help everyone understand to allow them the chance to pass my class without much struggle. From that moment on I began to notice so many more instances of this issue. Whether it was math, science, music, etcetera…there was always at least one child who didn’t comprehend as well as the others and ended up falling behind with no chance of making a comeback. Our schools are filled with negligent teachers, yet the students are being held accountable for failing or behavior issues.
When it comes to conduct, I’ve learned that a lot of students act out in a certain class not because they’re a “class clown,” “don’t get enough attention at home,” or “just flat out a bad kid.” It’s because they genuinely hate the subject and the teacher as well since they don’t even try to help them bring their grades up or sit one-on-one with them to make sure they’re grasping the material. I’ll admit, there are kids that misbehave just for the hell of it. But not all of them, I promise.
Sometimes, a child’s bad grades or misbehavior stems from the home. And teachers are the first line of defense against this. But how are we supposed to protect these children and give them chances to prosper if a student can’t speak to their teacher and tell them what’s going on? How are they supposed to thrive if there is no established teacher-to-student trust? Imagine you’re a high school student that can’t do their homework because their single parent is always at work and someone has to take care of their younger siblings but you have a teacher that won’t accept any kind of excuses. It’s discouraging, right? But you know that there’s nothing you can do about it because your teacher won’t listen so you just say “Oh well.” Unfortunately, this happens more often than you’d like to think. But in this situation, the teacher won’t budge, and all the responsibility falls on the student. This is not a condition that a student can survive in, but it doesn’t matter to the school system.
In essence, I decided to become a teacher so I can be the difference school systems need. I have a different point of view on things, and I care about every person that crosses my path. I believe in myself and others and their ability to thrive and succeed. Kids need their teachers to have faith in them, and give them opportunities to show their skill set and assist them in refining the ones they aren’t that good at. Teachers can make or break a student, and this responsibility seems to have fallen on deaf ears as of late. So how could I not want to take that step forward, and try to influence other teachers to have the same mentality again?