Growing up with parents who were very committed to their profession as teachers and being able to witness how they were able to touch their students’ lives year after year, then it is no surprise that I want to be a teacher too. Our parents are the greatest influence that we have in our lives and I think that it is not only fitting that I emulate their life and their profession but I see it as their legacy. My earliest memories had been me tagging along with my father as he coached students or having my mother prepare illustration cards with number in them. I grew up with many children coming to our house and sometimes they played with me but mostly they came for my parents. I am no poster child for my parents, I have had issues with them as I was growing up and I admit at times I resented the time and care that they gave their students. But fortunately I was able to pass that stage and I now realize how blessed I am that my parents had been teachers, not businessmen, lawyers or doctors.
Having teachers for parents has its own advantages, for one they already are familiar with adolescent angst and I always felt that they understood me even when I tried to rebel against them, my friends had not been so lucky, they always complained that their parents nag and are impossible. Second, my father coaches the school team so I never had problems with boys, I grew up with them and I am fairly able to discern the male ego. My mother teaches math so I have a round the clock tutor when I was having difficulty with some math courses, and most of all, they were supportive of my goals and they were able to provide me with worthwhile activities that kept me away from the usual high school pitfalls; drugs, alcohol and sex.
I have learned through my parents’ example that teaching is more than preparing lessons and activities, more than training young minds and bodies, more than going to class everyday and teaching lessons. To me, teaching is a way of life. One can never be a teacher only when they are in school, one lives that role 24/7. My mother used to bring home her students exams and papers that needed to be checked, my father used to bring his team in our house to practice even on summers. And my father used to say all the time that each experience, each moment or situation has the potential to be a source of learning. I did not pay attention to it much and it seemed to hypothetical and abstract for me to grasp until I realized that learning does not happen in the four corners of the classroom or the school. Life is a learning experience and I want to be a teacher because I want to give back to others what has been given to me.
I want to teach very young children because I am very good with children; I have the skills and the personality that would make me an excellent preschool or elementary school teacher. I have been teaching younger children in Sunday school and although the bible has far more difficult material to cover than say reading or math, but I am proud to say that my Sunday school class is always the largest group in our church. I am not sure if because I am this warm, funny and nurturing person I am more attractive to young kids or maybe I am just a good story teller and I can sing and dance for them. I have also been teaching swimming lessons to babies around 2 years old and up and with adult learners too. Thus, I must say that teaching is in my blood or rather in my genes.
Personally I believe that an effective teacher needs to have both the mind and the heart to teach. This naturally means that teachers should be an expert in their fields or subjects but there is always room for improvement. On the other hand, no matter how intelligent or how outstanding one’s academic credentials are, if one does not have the ability to teach, then one can never be a teacher. Teaching is both a talent and an art, anyone can give a lecture or a discussion and anyone can design a learning activity, but only a teacher can transmit knowledge and be able to put that knowledge to reality. It takes a certain amount of talent, skill, creativity, academic preparation and training to be an effective teacher, but most of all, one has the desire to help and mold young minds. My mother used to say that teaching will never put money in the bank nor will it build our dream house, but then teaching has made them more fulfilled as persons. They are happier and more satisfied with their lives because they know that they have done something for a higher purpose and meaning. And I want to be a teacher because it is my life’s purpose.
In reflection, I think that my desire to be a teacher have stemmed from the fact that I want to be able to help others, to teach minds, to touch hearts and maybe in my own way be able to transform a life/lives.