When you stop and think about it, the college experience is a funny thing. Most of us, at a mere 17 or 18 years old, are forced to think about what we want to do with the rest of our lives. And then we embark an a journey to reach those dreams, all while hoping that we have made the right choice. In the process we spend tens of thousands of dollars on a simple hope. A simple idea of who we might be when we grow up. We sit through hours of lectures, hours of studying, and hours of homework, while dreaming of what will come next.
Our dream job, of course. Our dream life.
But as we get closer and closer to reaching that dream, doubt sets in. What if we've picked the incorrect path? What if this path isn't the one that will make us happy?
What if we were wrong?
Since graduating in 2003, I've been working toward becoming a high school English teacher. I've made my way into and out of various programs, have gotten married, and have had two little blue-eyed boys (with a third on the way).
I've been about 92% (very scientific number) sure that I've made the right decision every step of the way. But I've always wondered if I would really be happy with teaching. It certainly isn't the highest paying job and so many people seem to wind up in this profession because their #1 dream didn't work out. Just because I like to read and write and study reading and study writing, what if I don't like teaching?
For the past six weeks, I've been student teaching with a 9th grade English teacher, and am happy to report that I've enjoyed every moment of it. In fact, I feel that I've already become so invested in these classes and the students...I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sad when it's over.
The teacher that I'm working with teaches all of the freshmen who are remedial and have learning disabilities or some other attribute that makes learning difficult. These students are filtered throughout all of her classes. She's done a great job of modeling what it means to be compassionate, interested, and sincere. It is possible to catch students before they fall through the cracks. And, even if they have fallen, they can be rescued.
I know that there are those with a special gift for teaching Honors and AP students, and maybe I would thoroughly enjoy that as well, but for now, I am definitely seeing the rewards and success stories that come with teaching those who struggle with their education.
At this point, with the very minute experience I have gained, I am feeling that my 17-year old self knew what she was doing. Or maybe it was just a lucky guess. Either way...it feels good.