For the month of April, I am participating in the Blog A Day Challenge for educators. All prompts are provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith), an educator from New York.
I didn’t always want to be a teacher. When I first went to BYU, I had dreams of performing and threw myself into a vocal performance major. It was the first giant failure in my life. So I switched to English and Political Science, and thought I could go into law or politics. Then I got engaged and left BYU. That whole debacle was another giant failure in my life.
By the time I resurfaced and started back to my collegiate career, I just wanted to graduate, and I didn’t really have any clear career aspirations, so I figured a teaching degree was my best bet.
Yes, I was one of those college of education people. At first.
One summer term, I had the opportunity to attend an education conference in town. I don’t remember why I went–it’s entirely possible I went because I was offered extra credit in a class I was taking at the time. But what I do remember is how I felt after the conference was over: I had been converted to the gospel of teaching.
The sessions I attended inspired me to stop viewing teaching as a fall-back, and to embrace it as a worthwhile profession. The research I heard sparked a curiosity to read more about effective teaching strategies. From that point on, I was all-in on teaching.
Every class I took after that conference, I looked at with fresh and eager eyes. They were no longer hoops to jump through; classes were a way I could learn the theory of a craft before putting it to actual use in my student teaching. By the time I got to student teaching, I felt like a teacher. A little rough around the edges, to be sure. But I was certain of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be.
My favorite part of my teacher training wasn’t the practicums or student teaching or my young adult lit class (which I adored). My favorite part of my teacher training was figuring out that I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. And without those epic failures early in my collegiate career, I never would have even considered teaching.
Can you imagine? Me, not a teacher? It’s such a part of my identity now that to think of myself as a performer or lawyer or politician is almost laughable…until I realize that as a teacher, I’ve worn each of those hats from time to time anyway.