Why I Became A Teacher
I have a confession to make. I hated high school. As I always had a strong proficiency in reading and writing, I never “struggled” with school so to speak, however, I was more interested in friends and boys than my studies. Due to this lack of interest I myself had, I was initially skeptical of the ability of (high school) teachers to inspire or create change in their students when many of their interests lie elsewhere.
However, when I delve a little deeper, I see even at a point in my life when I was seemingly disengaged and uninspired, I hungered for opportunities to express my curiosity and my creativity.
My teacher-let’s call her Ms. C, provided an outlet for this. To be honest, I do not remember a deep amount of “curriculum content” from her courses (sorry Ms. C) but what I do remember were the personal stories she shared and the opportunities she provided for us to express ourselves creatively.
Little did 16 year old me know it at the time but the stories she shared of her travels would move the trajectory of my life forward into new and unfamiliar territories. Her stories of working in Japan, backpacking through India and eating a Falafel (while inadvertently being teargassed!!) still stand out vividly in my mind. Furthermore, they instilled in me a hunger to explore the world which has translated into me working in and visiting a combined number of over 30 different countries (Ironically, I have yet to visit India, Israel or Japan).
In her World Religions class she inspired us to get creative in our presentations of our selected religions. I have always had a passion for food and cooking so this project gave me the opportunity to master the art of Challah making for my presentation of Judaism (I wish I had a photo-my bread braiding work was on point!). Through these hands-on learning opportunities I inadvertently learned about the cultures and concepts I was being taught, but more importantly, I developed a passion for travel and exploring other cultures.
This initial exposure to the world let me to work as an Au Pair in Spain my first summer following university, then working in England, to numerous, trips to ultimately deciding to pursue education as a career and work as an International School educator.
What initially started as a desire to see the world, turned into a passion to inspire curiosity and creativity in my students, and provide them with opportunities to express themselves and explore their passions.
That is sometimes a misconception about high school students-curiosity is a lost entity. We gripe about students being so focused on social media (granted-this is true) and that they are seeming disengaged, but it is so important to remember we all have an innate desire to feel inspired and to express our individualism.
Furthermore, our impact as educators can be far reaching. We don't know what particular story we share, or piece of advice we provide to our students will stick with them or impact them in a currently unseen way. We have a power and responsibility to inspire curiosity and a desire to learn in our students (even if it is not necessarily about our math or science lesson).
What led you to become a teacher? How do you inspire curiosity in your students? Please comment below :)