Why do individuals select teaching as a profession? Reasons of becoming a teacher are as diverse as the subjects that will be taught. Motives range from inspirations drawn from a favorite teacher to a sense of commitment owed to a community or nation. I sit here pondering to myself, why do I want to become a teacher? I didn’t even really like attending school as a youth. I spent my teenage years dreaming of becoming a nurse. Immediately after high school, I began chasing my dream. Something emotionally changed within me the afternoon I volunteered in my sons Head Start classroom.
The connection the teachers had developed with the children was amazing and warm. For several years, I continued to be a parent volunteer. The opportunity of spending this priceless time with my son provided memories that could not be replaced. I knew this was where I wanted to make a difference. After reflecting back on the developed relationships between the children and their teachers, I quickly realized teaching was a calling not just a job. I had a yearning desire to help children learn, watch them grow, and make a difference in their lives.
I knew I would be making a salary that was much less than a nurse; however, money was not my motivation. After speaking to a few of the Head Start employees, I learned I needed to begin by applying for a position as a teacher’s assistant. This was due to the fact that I had no former teaching education or experience. I knew that I would need to return to school for a degree in teaching. I was ready for the challenge. Once I achieved my associate’s degree I was promoted to a teacher’s position. However, although teaching has many extrinsic and intrinsic rewarding it is tremendously demanding.
In Head Start the intrinsic rewards out way the extrinsic ones. With this being said, I decided to return to school to continue seeking my bachelor’s degree. When I graduate and become prepared to teach grade school I will seek a teaching position within an inner city school. With the experience I gained over the last seventeen years employed as an inner city Head Start teacher. I learned that the majority of these children do not get the consistency and routines which are needed to strive as productive citizens in their local community.
I truly value the relationships I have developed with each child in my classroom. These children know that they can trust me; I am always there with a smile and words of encouragement. I am completely committed to my job and being their teacher. I am also committed to the community and families we serve. Just today although it is Saturday, I went to a community clean up in the neighborhood located in a close proximity to the school. This allows me to express to the families in the neighborhood that I care about them and what goes on in their societies.
I always conduct myself as a professional and serve as a role model to my parents and children. As a teacher in a inner city community, I work closely with the family development team to help the enrolled families make achievable short term goals, following through to accomplishment. Sometimes the hardest part of the job is trying to get the parents to understand you are looking out for the best interest of the children. Parents often are at a loss as to how to help their children. This is sometimes due to a lack of education.
When you work with these parents finding solutions which work both at home and at school, you will have changed the lives of all involved. I will always be very grateful for my beginning as a Head Start teacher. I will continue to support the families and communities of the children I teach. I’m looking forward to the day when I complete my education and can begin teaching within the public school system. I will forever remember that each child is a special person with their own identity and needs.