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Why I Want to be a Teacher

Tabitha Helms

I'm sitting inside on a rainy day, filling out my credential program applications. San Diego State is making me include a personal narrative, along with a million other things. But I thought my essay was good enough to share, so you can all get inside my head for a bit and find out why I want to be a teacher. :) Enjoy! Why I Want to be a Teacher By Tabitha Neal

A majority of college students change their majors several times throughout their years of study. My own college path was no different. I began as a music major, desiring to woo the world with my vocal talent. Two years passed, and I had declared a liberal studies major with a focus in elementary education, reducing my music major to a minor instead. Switching career paths halfway through was intimidating. Circumstances required the change, but I wondered if I really had what it took to be a teacher. Was this new career chosen simply for a love of children, or was it something deeper?

Many young adults have visions of changing the world. I am certainly no different. I want my life to mean something; I want to touch the lives of the people I come into contact with and make a difference. When I think back to the people who touched my own life, my teachers are the ones who come to mind. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Grubacich, made school likable; she made me feel like I could achieve anything. She built up my self-confidence and made me feel needed. I have loved learning ever since. Mrs. Anderson helped mold me into the organized person I am today. Mr. Weatherly taught me to think mathematically and visually by playing chess. Mrs. Burnworth sharpened my grammar and pushed me to pass my AP English exams for college credit. Dr. Tommerup taught me how to enjoy biology and how to make science a fun experience. I firmly believe that the person I am today has been shaped by each of these teachers.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to hold job positions and volunteer in multicultural focused environments. Specifically, I worked for a restaurant chain, a private school summer camp, the office of Diversity Outreach at MiraCosta College, an accounting firm, various church groups and community theatres, different families needing childcare, and an outreach program seeking to encourage students to pursue higher education. In these environments I had the opportunity to work with people of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. I learned how to be professional, how to be objective, and how to seek common ground with each person. I enjoy learning about different cultures. I think it is wonderful to live in a place where we have so many different groups and identities. It is something to be celebrated.

Personally, the opportunities that I feel have prepared me the most for my future as a teacher are my volunteer work at Landell Elementary, my job at California State University, Fullerton, and my participation in music and theatre. At Landell, I was able to take a central role in teaching the class by reading the students books, giving spelling tests, reviewing language arts, as well as observing an amazing third grade teacher. At CSUF, one part of our job was giving classroom presentations. Being in front of a group of students and teaching them about my topic gave me an incredible amount of self-confidence in a teaching setting. Finally, I have been in musical theatre shows, worked at theatres, and taught voice and piano. I have been saddened by the way art programs are being cut from schools. I think my background in it will allow me to implement the arts in my classroom and give my students an appreciation for them.

Certainly people can travel to other countries, start up important businesses, run for office, and raise money for those in need in order to change the world. However, I believe that the best way to change the world is by starting with a child. Sadly, at home many children do not receive the support and encouragement needed to push them to succeed. What if they never come into contact with someone that expresses joy in their worth as an individual, who sees their potential, and makes an effort to invest in them? Who will they become in the future? We need people who believe in us. I know that I can invest in these children in my classroom and change their lives so that they can go on to change the lives of others around them. Change begins with one person, and I believe that person is me, their teacher.