As the end of the school year approaches – only 4 days left, our principal asked us to write essays sharing why we became teachers. Yuck! I’m not big on plain old essays – ask me to write a poem or a story any day and I’ll jump at the chance… but a dry old essay – not for me. So…. I decided to put my own spin on the writing assignment and write a story of sorts. I thought I’d be generous and share it with you all too.
So here you go!
Why I Became a Teacher
Once upon a time in a land about two hours south of here, there lived a little girl. This little girl never quite fit the spaces she had to live in. She was always too chubby, too clumsy, too slow, too geeky, too shy, too quiet, but she had one magical power. She was smart. Oh she wasn’t smart because a fairy godmother had decided to come to her rescue – nothing special like that. She was smart, because she worked at it and because she decided that would be her skill. Being smart wasn’t terribly hard work for this little girl. Being smart meant reading a LOT of books, and ever since she was teeny tiny the little girl loved books. She loved the places books could take her, the people she could meet in books, the friends she made in books, and best of all were the people she could be in a book. When she was reading a book, she didn’t have to be clumsy, slow, chubby, or any of those other adjectives. She could be anybody she wanted to be.
As the little girl grew older, she discovered a place where she could be somebody. She found a safe place where your looks and your athletic ability didn’t matter as much – school. She loved school. She was one of those odd ducks that would rather be in school than on summer break. School had a library and books galore. School had teachers that loved her and made her feel like someone important – someone special. In school, with very little work she could be at the top of the class – which was almost as good as being the beautiful princess.
To be completely honest, there came a time even in school where the little girl – who wasn’t so little anymore – found herself lacking in the pretty department and in the talent department. But even on the sad, gloomy days that little girl never felt horrible about school. Even when other kids laughed or teased – their words might hurt, but they couldn’t take away smart, even when the little girl hid in the classroom or the band room instead of going out to recess – school was still her magical place. Always, even when the tears came, there were the teachers.
Almost every single year of the little girl’s time in school there was always at least one magical teacher. The kind of teacher that made the little girl think outside the box, the kind of teacher that didn’t get mad when the little girl asked too many questions, the kind of teacher that gave up their lunch to soothe a hurt heart, that shared the magic of a wonderful book, that took the time to tell the little girl that she was somebody, the kind of teacher that made even a sad, geeky, fat little girl feel like a princess in their classroom. Those teachers were the little girl’s fairy godmothers or godfathers. Those teachers were the people that changed the little girl’s life.
See that little girl didn’t always want to be a teacher. Like every little boy or girl her dream changed from year to year – sometimes from day to day. She wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a pioneer, a dancer, a star, an author …. Whatever she did she wanted to do something big something that would change the world. That would leave her mark – to say she was here. As the end of school approached all of those dreams faded away for worldly reasons, but still that little girl wanted to change the world. As she applied to colleges and reflected on where she had been in her life, she began to see that even in her little bitty blip of a town – she had known people that changed the world. She saw them every day in every classroom she had ever sat in. Some of them may not have changed her world for the better, in fact, there were some that had made her days longer and darker, but every one of them had a left a mark.
So when you ask that little girl – who’s all grown up now – why she became a teacher, the answer lies in the teachers that came before her. As idealistic and perhaps foolish as it sounds, that little girl became a teacher because she wanted to change the world – hopefully for the better.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.