When I Grow Up

Writing Challenge: August 11, 2018

Prompt: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

I changed my mind a million times as a kid.  I wanted to be a singer/song writer, a fashion designer, an actress. I wanted to be a doctor, a pharmacist, a writer.  When you’re a kid you really do feel like you can be anything and everything all at once- but there is one profession that popped up more often than others. I wanted to be a teacher.

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it a million more: education is extremely important to me. It always has been, and I imagine that it always will be.

As a kid, the idea of teaching seemed so important and magical. It was like being a mom, a superhero, a genius, and that cool, adult friend all rolled into one job. If you personally know any good teachers, you know that it is exactly that and so much more.

I went almost entirely through the education program at my university and stopped just short of student teaching. With my work schedule I knew passing my student teaching would be near impossible. I would teach from 7:30am to 3:00pm, then go to work at 4:15pm to 1:15am. I wouldn’t have time to sleep or plan lessons. I wouldn’t have time to grade papers or meet with parents, tutor students, or do anything productive. I would only be a half-teacher- not something my students would deserve. Even if I did miraculously pass and got a position at a school, I still wouldn’t be able to do it. I knew myself too well. Education in the United States has become a joke. More tests, more requirements, and more standards but less money, less funding, and less teachers. Business men in board rooms with no understanding of kids, learning, psychology, or teaching decide on what should be taught and how. My state is a mess with some of the largest class sizes, toughest over-involved parents, and lowest pays in the nation. I knew I would quit teaching in a few years when the frustration got to me.

I love the idea of teaching. I love the students. I love the material. I love the difference it makes to the world. Teachers are our greatest assets. Unfortunately, my country’s education system scared me away from my dream- perhaps not forever, but at least for now.

I am now searching for a new dream- a new goal. In my mid-20’s I am still thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. I don’t think we ever stop dreaming new dreams- we are always growing up.

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