Why Did You Become A Teacher?

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Written By: Robyn Shulman

A Teacher.

From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I can remember each time my mom brought home a new box of Crayola chalk, as I couldn’t wait to see if they were colored, thin, big, or simply white.  To this day, I can still feel the chalk box opening, along with a circle of dust that would so lightly settle upon my nose in a perfect white cloud.   I set my chalk up so perfectly, according to color and size, along my little green chalkboard.  I brought the chalkboard outside every day after school.   Many kids from my neighborhood would rush ever so quickly to get a seat in my class, which was held on our tiny apartment porch.  As small as the porch was, we always managed to get everyone a viewing seat.

A Teacher is born every day from various circumstances.

Although teaching seemed to be an innate and/or natural occurrence, there was one particular external factor that played a key role in my big college decision to go into education (at 10 years old):  experiencing and observing immediate family members struggle in various ways due to lack of education (which impacted me personally in every way).  Yes, hard times hit home.  However, I wouldn’t change my life, or my decision to go into education.

As I became older, I noticed how much I greatly enjoyed giving.  I didn’t feel as if I were giving, but rather, receiving.  Today, the students from my first fourth grade class (1997) have graduated college.  Many of my former students have found me online, and what a gift it has been to see and share in their successes.

Why did you choose to become a teacher? 

Was it an innate calling?  Do you come from a family of teachers?  Do you still feel the passion for the role?  Did you ever feel the passion?  Are you in the wrong profession (ouch)? Do you regret it (ouch, ouch)?

Being a teacher today is not an easy ride, as even finding a teaching position is extremely difficult.  With all of the politics involved, the lack of state funding, the competition, and meeting the needs of greatly diverse students, I often wonder why there are so many people moving toward this field.

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Please share your experiences, thoughts and feelings about how you became a teacher.

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9 thoughts on “Why Did You Become A Teacher?

  1. Connie Duff

    I remember “playing school” with my sister and my friends and by golly, both my sister and I became teachers! When I was in sixth grade, I had THE MOST WONDERFUL TEACHER and I thought that perhaps I shouldn’t be a teacher because I could NEVER be as good as he was. But, among the many things I learned that year, it was to try to do my very best and I kept that in mind through college and brought it to mind throughout my career. Teachers do have an impact…although we might not ever know just how much of an impression we make.

  2. Michael Biasini

    It took many years to show that God gave me a gift to teach. Today, I try to show other individuals that they can help kids of all ages too.

    A few handicaps should not slow anyone down.

    I try to inspired others to teach

    This is my story……..

    Perfectly Normal

    At birth his eyes were almost on the sides of his head. He had only holes where his nose was supposed to be, a club foot, two fingers on his right hand, a cleft palate. But his mother’s lesson, “Never give up!” bolstered Michael through dozens of surgeries and inspired him to find his true calling: teaching.

    by Michael Biasini
    New contributor to the Gazette
    October 1, 2008

    Michael BiasiniReprinted by permission of Michael Biasini (c) 1998, from A 6th Bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.

    The year was 1963.

    That’s when I was born… to “perfectly normal” parents at a “perfectly normal” Cleveland hospital.

    I would like to say that I was a “perfectly normal,” healthy baby, ready to take on the world. But instead, I was born with multiple deformities. My eyes were almost on the sides of my head, and I only had holes where my nose was supposed to be. I had a club foot and was missing all but one toe, if it could be called that. Also, three of my fingers were missing on my right hand. A cleft palate had an opening in my top lip and extended all the way to the right eye.

    Unfortunately, even one leg was shorter than the other.

    The hospital staff, I was told, thought I had too many problems to survive. The doctors, in fact, refused to show me to my parents and, incredulously, even gave my parents forms to sign to “give me up for science.”

    I can only thank God that my parents had other plans for my life. I belonged to them and to God. They intended to love and accept me just as I was, despite acknowledging that it would be a long, hard road ahead.

    At the age of seven months, I began to undergo a very long series of operations. However, the first seven were deemed failures. The surgeons, it seemed, were trying to do too much at once. I, on the other hand, was like a puzzle that needed to be “put together” one piece at a time.

    While successive surgeries were a little more successful, my appearance was still far from normal. In fact, very few people knew that I had already had sixteen operations by the time I was ready for third grade.

    When I began kindergarten, I was placed in a special-education classroom because my appearance and imperfect speech were not accepted. Aside from being labeled a “special-ed” kid, I endured constant ridicule from other students who called me “stupid,” “ugly” and “retarded” because of my looks. I also walked with a limp and had to wear special shoes and braces on my legs. I spent almost every school holiday in the hospital having operations and also missed a lot of school. I wondered if I would ever get out of special classes. My desire to become a “normal” child prompted my parents to pursue tests that would place me back in regular education classrooms. My parents and I worked very hard that summer to get ready for the big test. Finally, I was tested.

    I’ll never forget the day I waited outside the principal’s office while my parents received my test results. The brown door between them and me seemed to loom bigger and bigger as time went by. Time passed in slow motion. I longed to put my ear to the door to hear what was being said.

    After an hour passed, my mother finally emerged with a tear streaming down her cheek. I thought, “Oh, no, another year in special-ed.” But much to my relief, the principal put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Welcome to 3B, young man!” My mom gave me a big hug.

    Another milestone in fourth grade was the “miracle” that my parents and I had longed for. I was selected to undergo a very experimental surgery that would resculpt my entire face with bone grafts. The surgery was life-threatening and lasted ten hours. I survived this operation, my eighteenth, which really changed my life. At last, my nose had a shape, my lip was “fixed” and my eyes were very close to being in their normal position.

    While I now faced a new chapter in my life from a physical perspective, I hadn’t seen the end of my trials.

    Within the next few years, my mother developed cancer and died, but not before instilling in me a sense of worth and the determination never to give up.

    When other kids called me names, she had prompted, “Don’t let those names bother you. Feel sorry for those kids who were not brought up right.”

    In addition, my parents taught me to be thankful for my blessings, pointing out that other people might have even greater challenges.

    Their words eventually impacted my life when I did see people with greater challenges – in hospitals and whenever I did volunteer work with children who were mentally challenged.

    As a teenager, I came to realize that my purpose in life was to help others become successful with whatever gifts they were blessed with, despite the things that society might point out as handicaps or shortcomings. In fact, my father advised, “Mike, you would make a great special-ed teacher.” I knew what it was like to be a special-ed child.

    However, I simply wasn’t ready to make teaching my career choice at that point. Instead, I earned a degree in business and went on to become a very successful salesman, spending seven years in retail management. Then, I went on to become a very successful bank employee, spending five years as a loan officer. Still, something in my life was missing.

    Despite the fact that I had met and married a special-ed teacher, it took me twelve years to realize that was my calling also and that my dad had been right.

    Continuing my college education, pursuing a master’s degree in education, I now teach in the same school district as my wife.

    My classroom is a kaleidoscope of children with special needs – emotional, physical and mental. My newest career choice is my most challenging yet. I love to see my students’ smiling faces when they learn something new, when a few words are spoken and when an award is won in the Special Olympics.

    I’ve now gone through twenty-nine surgeries. While many have brought a lot of pain to my life, the fact that I have survived them all only seems to reiterate to me that God has a purpose for my life, as well as for every other life. I see my purpose being fulfilled one child at a time.

    I may not have been a “perfectly normal” healthy baby, but I am ready to take on the world – thanks to God and to people like my mom. The motto she gave me will always be the motto I use in my own classroom: Never give up.

    Michael Biasini
    mbasini@yahoo.com

  3. Edward Bortot

    I entered the teaching profession to be a bridge for students to reach success. I wanted to teach students how to advocate for themselves and understand what an education can do for them. I wanted to inspire them and let them know that someone on the campus believed in them and soon they would believe in themselves. I have just completed 18 years and continue to the do the same. I do not know how long I have i this profession, but while I am here I will continue to try and make difference in a student’s life.

  4. Norm Delay

    I became a teacher after years in the drafting/design business. For years I always said that given the chance I would love to make a difference in the training of the students coming to us from colleges all across the plains states and mid-west.
    It wasn’t that they did not know what they where doing, they simply had no hands on experience with the software or common sense about what they where doing. They knew the technology and the theory behind it, they simply had no real world experience from the classrooms. I told myself that given the chance I would teach my students what it is really like in the business world and what they would need to know to succeed. Not just the theory.

  5. Joyce

    Ever since I first started sachool, I wanted to be a teacher. I felt good helping my friends and family with their school work. As I grew, obstacles came into play; however I began my career as a preschool teacher while having young ones at home. Then, came many obstacle and I had to take many years following a different path, however I finally completed my bachelor’s and master’s in Special ed. 25 years ago, I would never have considered it, so I believe that there was a reason for the obstacles that crossed my path! I would not change a thing (unless it was to reduce or even eliminate my student loan debt!!)I teach in an adaptive life skills classroom at the middle school (5th -8th gradde!)

  6. Gerda Matondang

    When I was a student I loved to help my friends explaining what the teachers had taught..they said I could do better than the teachers did ..but that’s because I could speak accordingly with my friends understanding level..I guess.

    Then, I realised the calling innate me that is by giving something to make people understand is really amazing..at first I thought it wasn’t to be a teacher…

    I tried and did the other jobs and professions..
    However being a teacher is much more than those …

    I am so greatful when my students said “thank you” after the class or the graduation time and when they gave their progress of grabbing the new understanding of knowledge,character and faith in life.

    “to teach is to touch life” I have been teaching English since 1990.

  7. Pam McNamara

    I became a Teacher because I loved the sense of community that develops in the classroom and I think knowledge and learning is one of the most important things needed to make a full life.

    I taught for 15 years and made a gradual move into administration and I miss the teaching part of education. I yearn to be back in the classroom.

  8. Gwen

    I believe that the calling of educating is innate in all of us. Some folks do it better than others. As challenging as educating maybe it is one of the most rewarding professions out there.

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