I am someone who truly believes that education changes lives for the better. Indeed, the doors that can be opened through education are limitless. As an educator, there is no greater thrill than knowing that the instruction I provide, helps to move students forward.
For me, teaching is a passion. I absolutely enjoy the thrill and the challenge of helping students to reach their maximum potential. This desire has to be strong even when facing the various challenges that come along with teaching. As a substitute teacher within the Los Angeles Unified School District, there would be times where I was called upon to teach in situations where: the regular teacher left no lesson plan, the classes were unruly, and the classes were overcrowded. Yet, my overall love for teaching was so strong, that I managed to overcome these obstacles to provide students with the instruction they needed. More than anything, I truly believe that if we as teachers want students to be committed to learning, they must see that we are willing to teach. No matter what the obstacles. Ultimately, my desire to be the best teacher possible, lies in the fact that I know as an educator, students look up to me. This realization came to me during the 6th grade. During this time, I was absolutely in awe, as to how my teacher, Ms. Jones was able to make learning so much fun. Beyond that, I could tell that Ms. Jones truly loved what she was doing. Looking back, the enthusiasm she showed in teaching gifted students, helped me to become more receptive to learning. The truth is, teachers and students alike will only get out of learning what they put into it. The burden of learning shouldn’t be placed on students alone. If students see that teachers are passionate about teaching, then they will be more receptive to learning.
As mentioned, I believe that it is important for educators to be passionate about what they do. We have to see teaching as being more than just another job. We have to be truly excited about educating others. This excitement and dedication must shine through despite the challenges that come with teaching. As a substitute teacher, I was often thrust into situations where it would be quite easy to get frustrated and discouraged. There were times where the regular teacher wouldn’t leave behind lesson plans. There were times where the classes were unruly and disorderly. Nonetheless, I was still responsible for implanting useful information in the minds of those students. Knowing this, I turned these challenges into opportunities to gauge just how effectively I could teach in less than ideal situations. More importantly, the students could see that despite the odds, I was up for the challenge of providing quality instruction. Aside from dedication, I have come to find that all effective teachers must be persistent. This is especially true of substitute teachers. As a substitute, I had very little say over the classroom environments I would find myself in. Ideally, you would like to be placed into situations where students were orderly, the teacher leaves behind comprehensive instructions and lesson plans, while you just filled in the blanks. In reality, this was most often not the case. And to be truthful, this was very discouraging. It seemed that if I wanted to stay in teaching, these would be the only teaching situations I would find myself in. Despite my disappointment, there was no denying that I loved teaching. And, if this is where I would be teaching, I would make sure that these students would receive the best instruction possible. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, these situations taught me the ultra – importance of being prepared. That is, not to take anything for granted. Not to assume that students regardless of grade level or age, are equipped with certain skills. Not to assume that all the necessary tools will be available at your disposal. In other words – be prepared for whatever situation presents itself to you.
Honestly, I feel that preparation is one area where educators struggle. Many educators go into various situations believing that certain items should be in order. When this is not the case, many educators become flustered, and allow things to spiral out of control. As mentioned, teachers much like society, believe that individuals at certain points of their lives should have certain skills. Yet more than not, this is not the case. Instead of griping and complaining, we should just adjust and handle what needs to be done. As a teacher at the grade school and community college levels, this is what I have learned to do. Teaching at the community college level, I was surprised to find that there were students who had difficulty reading, and utilizing basic learning skills. However, I was able to provide the instruction needed, which in turn, helped these students to move forward. In conjunction with an emergency preparedness organization, I volunteered as a youth advisor for students aged 7 to 12. In this role, I helped to provide lifesaving skills and tips that students could use to help their friends, and adults, if necessary. This training is also extended to high school students. Again, it all goes back to preparation. Whether on the school grounds, in the home, or out with their friends, the skills learned can prove to be invaluable towards the saving of one’s life.