When one makes a decision about the work he will do in life, it is important that the decision be based on criteria that reflect his personal values, temperaments, experiences, and skills. My choice of teaching as a career was not made lightly; rather, it was the culmination of a process of reflection about what I wanted to do with my life and my education.
When I was a student in elementary, middle, and high school, as well as in college, I found myself paying attention to not only what was being taught, but also to how my teachers actually taught the lessons. It seemed to me then, and still does, that most of my teachers enjoyed what they were doing. Too young, and with no real context as an elementary school student to appreciate what my teachers personally derived from what they were doing, it wasn’t until middle school that I began to think that I might want to be a teacher. Slowly at first, then more quickly, and with increasing clarity and depth, I began to visualize myself as a teacher.
The great teachers I have had throughout my education are my heroes and my role models. I began to understand more fully in high school and throughout my time as a college student that great teachers had skills I wanted to learn. I wanted to excel at the things in which they excelled, but I also experienced teachers who were not effective, and they too taught me something. From them I learned what I would not do or even try when I would someday become a teacher. I fully realized that to be a teacher is truly a calling of not just the mind, but the heart as well.
I saw that the great teachers were good at explaining content, were patient, yet firm with students, were always fair, set high expectations, knew how to motivate us, and used humor appropriately. They were excellent communicators who had a command of the subject-matter content they taught. I wanted to be like them, to be able to do what they could do, and yet I understood that I would have to forge my own style of teaching that would draw on my strengths, knowledge, skills, values and experiences. I have arrived at that point in my preparation, fully realizing I still have much to learn.
I have chosen education as a career because I believe that education is perhaps the most important function performed in our culture, or for that matter, any culture. I believe that teachers individually and collectively can not only change the world, but improve it, and in the process find personal and professional renewal. I want to be part of this noble profession, and someday to be counted among those in whom future preservice teachers found inspiration.