Dear Jasmeka

education, photography

Dear Jasmeka,

So, you want to be a teacher when you grow up?

Why do you want to be a teacher?

A. I want a job that is rewarding and fulfilling.

B. I want to help people.

C. I want to make a lot of money.

D. I love children and want to make a difference in their lives.

If you chose answer C, you’re correct. I joke, I joke!

A. I want a job that is rewarding and fulfilling. Here’s the truth about being a teacher. It doesn’t always feel rewarding and fulfilling. In fact, most days it’s exhausting and frustrating. I cry more than I cheer.

B. I want to help people. While this sounds noble, I’ve realized that the most powerful thing I can do is to teach my students how to help themselves. Teachers whose main motivation is to help or fix other people end up thinking that they are superheroes. When I look around my classroom, I know without a doubt that the true heroes are the 11 and 12 year olds who are persevering with their academic and character development every day.

C. I want to make a lot of money. I’m hilarious, right? Tip – humor is key as a teacher. If you can’t laugh off the small things, you’ll probably become very, very grumpy.

D. I love children and want to make a difference in their lives. I learned quickly that my love and patience are limited. I have had to constantly remind myself that love is a choice, not an emotion. I want the very best for each and every child in my classroom, so even when I feel frustrated, I still choose to not give up on any of you. And then I have to ask myself, what does it mean to make a difference in someone’s life? Is that self-serving too? Am I teaching because I want to be remembered? Or am I teaching to give a child an opportunity she would not have had in a different classroom?

Let’s try this as an open-ended question: Why do you want to be a teacher?

________________________________________________________________

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Here’s my answer as an example:

I teach because I believe that every child can and will achieve on an absolute scale when given access to quality education and the support he or she needs to be successful. I believe that every life matters, kindness counts, and hard work and self-advocacy are essential life skills to be successful in school and in a career. I teach to open doors of possibility for students to walk confidently through on their own two feet.

Jasmeka, you have the strength and compassion inside you to be an excellent teacher one day. Ground yourself in the reasons why you want to teach so that when frustrating days happen, you stay steady for yourself and your students.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

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