“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I’m not becoming a teacher to teach. At least, not in the traditional sense.
I applied to BU as a Science Education major. After touching on the idea of Elementary Education and flirting with the thought of English Education, I left orientation as a History Education major. I made this choice based on my instincts but it turned out to be a good one and since deciding, I have never questioned my major. But in the grand scheme of things, this decision is insignificant to what I want to do. I think history is important for people to learn, understand, and apply. I value the content but in reality, my same goals could be pursued in a Biology or an English class. I’m not becoming a teacher to create historians; I’m becoming a teacher to create people.
You remember your favorite teachers as the people that made you feel valuable as an individual. The teachers that challenged you and pushed you and believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself and even when you didn’t know that you didn’t believe in yourself. The teachers that knew that you could. I am becoming a teacher so that I can show each and every student that they can. Of course they can.
Good teachers aren’t the ones who are there to teach students about the nervous system or the Civil War. Those lessons are important, but they pale in comparison to teaching students how to thrive and succeed as people. Good teachers remember small things about their students and engage in candid conversations about subjects beyond the content. These teachers show each and every student that they are capable and deserving of more than the confines placed on them by the hallways of adolescence. Good teachers are not there for their content; they are there for their students.
As a future teacher, I want to show a generation the power of passion and the importance of a dream. I want to teach my students to stand up for something—anything—and to strive for the extraordinary. I want my students to know not only the agendas of past presidents and that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969, but also that one day they too can be the president or walk on the moon. While teaching my students of instances of horrible human intolerance and senseless wars, I want to make it clear to them that they have the power to steer the future in a direction different than that of the past. They have the power to do whatever it is that they desire. As an educator, it is my duty to strike a match to each of their passions and send them off into the world as explorers, alight with fires of possibility. I can’t wait to watch those fires burn.