My insecurity in deciding to become a teacher stems from a feeling of inadequacy that I have always felt and needed to be distinguished by others’ approval of me. I am smart. I can do anything. Those are statements I did not wholly believe in my heart, but wanted fully to embrace. I needed to have these articulated to me either spoken aloud or translated through a report card filled with A+’s or via an invitation to join the boys in studying for the next exam in AP Physics. What scares me most about becoming a teacher isn’t the challenges I will face in the classroom (although these certainly exist and will be mountains to overcome) but rather having to justify to everyone that I am not “just a teacher.”
“Damn you are so smart you became a teacher” probably won’t be something I hear often.
“That’s cute; you must love kids.” I have heard this so many times, it makes my head and heart ache with frustration just thinking back on this common reaction whenever I have told anyone, “Yeah, I want to teach in inner city schools.” My other favorite response is, “Why the hell would you want to do that?”
The reality is I have found my niche in a field filled with beautiful and inspiring individuals who are looking to craft the next generation of minds as well as the misplaced, apathetic and tired individuals who are looking for summers off and to enjoy more personal time than they would have in another job.
The all too popular phrase, “those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach” is a frustrating generalization that leaves the education field with both subpar teachers who promote and reaffirm the stereotype and extraordinary teachers who get little respect and recognition for how amazing and valuable they are.
I have yet to teach a classroom full of students. I don’t know. I might suck. But my dreams deserve more respect than most people are willing to give.