Calculating My Way to Education: Why I decided to be a teacher

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Madeline Beavis
Two images side-by-side. On the left, blog author Maddy stands in her high school cap and gown. On the right, Maddy stands by a huge red ‘R’ at Rutgers University.

In 2008, a small, wide-eyed child would enter her first Kindergarten classroom. She would fall in love with the sights, the smells, the people, and the atmosphere. Her teachers would inspire her to be just like them when she grew up. Over the years, she would learn about the joys of reading, writing, and mathematics and anxiously wait for each school year to start again. Each teacher would plant a seed in this child’s pre-elementary school mind that would grow for the rest of her school career.

That child was me.

Evolving Why

Deciding that I wanted to be a teacher was easy. I watched other kids bounce back and forth between a doctor or an astronaut or a lawyer, but my career choice has remained unchanged. However, the reason for my choice has evolved. At first, I thought teachers were just people who knew more than everyone else and had all the answers. As an adolescent, I wanted to be “smart” and share my knowledge with others. As I entered adulthood, I began to understand that, while teachers are incredibly intelligent, they are just regular people who want to make a difference. Not to mention, they are intelligent in a way that is far more valuable than what can be taught in textbooks. Teachers must have immense emotional, social, and situational intellect in order to work effectively with students. Now that I’m in college, I strive to be as well-rounded of a teacher as those I've been lucky enough to learn from when I was in grade school.

Evolving Who

Overall, I knew, one day, I would end up at the front of a classroom. Determining what age-group and subject I wanted to teach was not defined so early. As I moved through each grade, I always ended the year saying I wanted to teach the grade I had just finished instead of the previous grade. That came to a screeching halt when I reached high school. I enjoyed the challenge of high school subjects and liked the material that I was learning more than I ever had before. I then knew that I wanted to teach high school... but I still hadn’t picked a subject.

Evolving What

I loved reading while in elementary school. You could always find me somewhere flicking the pages of a book like I just couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter. Throughout middle school, I thought I had my mind made up that I would major in English in college. Easy. Done. But not quite, because when I got to high school, I fell in love with my math courses. It probably helped that I had some incredible teachers for Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus, but there was something addicting about finding that one right answer to a problem. I still enjoy reading and writing and loved my English courses too, but I knew that I didn’t have the same passion for it as mathematics.

So, career? Teaching. Age group? High school. Subject? Math. I felt like I had all my questions answered and I was excited for the future.

There are times where I doubt my abilities or wonder if I am good enough to be an educator, especially in a subject as difficult as math, but then I remember the unwavering confidence that my teachers had in this one child. If they believe I can do it, then so should I.

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