I think that process had led me to the place where I was a few years ago back in middle school. I didn’t know what I wanted exactly, but as middle school was coming to an end and high school was starting, I knew I didn’t want to leave the education system. I couldn’t imagine myself not having the routine of getting up every weekday and going to school for 7 hours a day. The thought that I might one day have to leave school kind of terrified me. It was that transitional period from middle school to high school that I figured ‘hey, I like books, I think I connect well with teenagers, and I never want to leave school. Why don’t I teach?’
And thus, my future career path became evident to me. Now I know a lot of people might envy me for figuring out what I want to do with my life so early on and without much thought. I’m very aware that I’m lucky in knowing what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.
But to be honest, I still have about four more years of school all together before I even get to substituting. I might find out in teachers college that I suddenly don’t like teaching. It’s a process we all have to go through, we all have to test out the waters in different fields and that sometimes brings us out of our comfort zone.
But I digress, we’ll all learn that with time. So the main reason I wanted to make this post was to spread a kind of hope, possibly inspiration, to those who still may be struggling with finding out what they want to do in life. My very first piece of advice is:
1. Do what you love.
No matter how much someone may tell you “there’s no money in that”, or the one I get quite frequently, “you’ll never get a job doing that”, you do it. You follow your passions and hobbies. I know this doesn’t work for everybody, as people need to survive and that survival comes from income, but if you can’t get a job in the field you love, at least keep the hobby on the side. There’s nothing worse than, for example, a teacher who hates their job. When I say I want to teach, the very first reason and thing I think about is all of the crappy teachers I’ve had throughout my schooling experience who have clearly hated their jobs. You can tell when someone is unhappy with where they are in life, especially when you seem them every day. It didn’t help that I had teachers frequently telling us that they hated their job either. In a perfect world, no one should hate their job. With teaching, when you have a teacher who hates their job, it rubs off on the quality of the kids education and overall experience. If you don’t like kids, if you hate the subject your teaching, if you hate teaching in general, find a new job and please don’t subject students to having a bad experience. I can’t stress this enough. With younger students in middle school and even in early high school, they might chalk up their entire schooling experience as as negative one because their teachers seem miserable. While kids have their moments, they’re not all dumb, if the person you’re supposed to be learning from and looking up to is miserable, what kind of message does it send to the young kids?
Having a passion or a love for your job is extremely important, whether it be teaching, becoming a doctor, or a lawyer. No matter how many people are against you, no matter how important they are in your life, if you feel like you should be going off to college to study art, you do it. If you’ve been forced down a road to become a teacher because your entire family has a line of teachers but you don’t like it, do everything in your power to follow the path you want. I’ve had teachers in my senior year tell me to think of a new career idea because I’d never get in to teaching. While it crushed me, I’m more determined then ever to prove them wrong and get to where I want to be in life. As cheesy as it sounds, don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love because I have seen it, and it affects not only your life, but the lives of everyone around you.
2. Following up to the first point, be passionate about your work.
There are only three subjects I want to teach as a teacher because I am passionate about them and I want people to be just as excited about them as I am. Where I am in the world, French is a major help in getting a job as a teacher, something I don’t have. As soon as I say I’m qualified for French however, it becomes a teachable, and I would never want to teach it because I don’t like it and it would be evident in my lessons. English, history, and philosophy are my three passions and I will go above and beyond to try and excite kids about those subjects because I truly love them. When a teacher is passionate about their subject, they deliver a better lesson, they can provide ample amount of extra information, and find creative and innovative ways to show just how awesome a subject is. Passion shows through just as much as apathy does.
3. Be genuine in your job and actually care about it.
Some people end up teaching and have no idea how they got there. I know that I want to be helping people in my life, specifically kids and teenagers. I feel like in today’s society, they have enough to deal with and are going through so much. School is a horrible experience for some and I want to make that better. No one should feel threatened, bullied, or looked down upon in a system that is supposed to be building kids up to be active citizens brimming with knowledge and passion for life. Now I know that might be exaggerating a bit, but if your teachers don’t actually care about how their students are doing, they won’t do everything in their ability to ensure they get the best help and education when they need it. Caring about the students is also a vital part of ensuring that their mental wellbeing is in a good condition. If someone is struggling with other issues, there’s no way they can fully focus on what’s being presented to them. Being caring, and offering help to those who need it, is something education systems can benefit from doing more of. This is the same for any job you’re in, if you’re a lawyer, I can only imagine you’d help people with cases who you believe are truly in need of your help. Not just doing something for the social position or affluence.
While these three points kind of overlap and tie in with each other, the main point is to love and care what you do and stop at nothing to get it.
In summary, I personally want to teach because I’ve had so many unhappy experiences with teachers who have made me feel like I was worthless, stupid, or not worth their time. I want to make every single kid in my class feel like they can come to me at any time, while teaching them kick ass information about ancient gods, philosophers, and fantasy stories. Inspiring them to continue learning, encouraging them to explore, and caring enough to make sure they make it through okay.
My class will be a no judgement zone with horribly cringe school related puns, and I’ll be the teacher that leaves smiles on the faces and good memories in the heads of each and every kid that walks through my classroom door. I know I’m a ways away from achieving the place where I want to be, but these reasons are the only things that are pushing me to get through the next two years of university, then two more years of teachers college.
With everything seemingly stacked against me at this point, I’ll be writing a post in a couple of years telling you just how awesome my job and my students are.
I hope you’ve never been subjected to being told you can’t do something you love because it’s not financially sound or just not doable. If you have, you take your future into your own hands and you get what you want.