I teach because I struggle.
I struggle with mental health. I struggle with balancing all the chaos that is life. I struggle.
Starting out in school I was never a good reader. I jumped from resource room to resource room until I was in about 5th grade. Reading just wasn’t my thing. It was hard and I never got it. During the spring of my 5th grade year I remember that my ELA teacher gave the option to attend a writing conference in a nearby town. My mom pushed me to “apply” for it; we had to write a letter explaining why we thought we should go. I reluctantly wrote my letter, thinking nothing would come from it. Little did I know I woukd be accepted and attend with my ELA teacher and another classmate.
I don’t remember much about the experience, unfortunately, but it must have had quite an impact because since then I’ve struggled to put both books and pens down. I love reading and writing. My mind is filmed with stories and ink runs in my veins. Without words, I’m not sure what I would do with myself.
When the time came in high school when the questions of “Where are you going to college?” and “What will you be majoring in?” became the sound track to my life I wasn’t sure what my response was supposed to be. I knew that I wanted to attend a local-ish university, but I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I had decided that I wanted to major in writing because being a writer had been my dream. My dad poo-poo-ed that idea in an instant. “Why? There are millions out there that try to do that. Do you know of anyone who does that successfully?” I was crushed. Truly. Little did he know that I would grow to know many published authors in my adult life; many are friends and former teachers, one is even a former student.
Again, I found myself in this horrible cycle of trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life, but yet I had no idea. It was like a whirling tornado of doubt that I just couldn’t click my ruby slippers out of. Seriously, where’s Toto when you need him?
My best friend in high school, Sarah, wanted to go into education; specifically English, and because high school is that time in our lives when we want to fit in the most that is what I decided my future would be; I wanted to be an English teacher. It didn’t take long after our high school graduation for us to loss touch. We separated ways after high school and we attended different universities. Her major changed. Mine didn’t.
As the new school year inches closer, week by week and day by day I find myself reflecting on why I do what I do.
I teach because I want to have an impact. I know that sounds cookie cutter, and cliche, but it’s true. Teachers tend to be givers, and soft hearted, I mean how can you not be when teaching is such an eye-opening experience? There are so many things about society and people that you are exposed to that other occupations just don’t get to see or experience.
I teach because I want to be the stable force in someone’s life who may have an unstable past or home life.
I teach because I want to be the silver lining to someone’s day.
I teach because I want students to now that it’s okay to struggle.
I teach because I want students to know that it’s okay not to be okay.
I teach because I love what I do.
I teach because I want to open minds.
I teach because I want to connect with youth.
I teach because it’s my life.
I teach because…well, I just do.
Teaching may not have originally been a part of my original game plan, or my end goal, but I honestly can’t imagine life any other way.
My name is Kelsey and I’m a teacher. I love what I do. Do you?