When I first went to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. While I graduated from Ball State in 1993 with degrees in history and psychology, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I went to a couple career counselors, and both told me that my interests matched up highly with being a teacher because I had a strong desire to help others.
Well, I didn’t want to be a teacher. They don’t make any money. So, I worked odd jobs and flirted with becoming a veterinarian, but after realizing that wasn’t going to work, I spoke to my wife (at the time) who was a teacher. We decided that, since I was only working odd jobs, I should get a job in a school as a teacher’s assistant. It would give me a good idea what working in a school would be like, and I could decide if teaching was for me.
I was able to get a job in a large township in the Indianapolis area working as a third-grade assistant. I worked with two amazing teachers who, knowing that I was thinking about becoming a teacher, gave me plenty of time to work with students. I learned a number of lessons while working there. I learned classroom management skills, I learned that you should not be friends with the students, l learned how to structure a day, to name just a few of the valuable lessons I learned and took with me when I got my own classroom. However, the most important thing I learned was that I did indeed want to be a teacher.
As I stated above, I got to do a lot of work with students. I mostly worked small groups or one-on-one sessions with students who were struggling. It was during one of these sessions that I realized that teaching was for me.
One day I was working with a young lady on subtraction with regrouping. A skill that can be very difficult for kids to learn. I had shown her multiple ways to regroup. We used charts, manipulatives, we broke it down on paper, and nothing was working. Then, I showed her one more time, and her eyes got big, she gasped, and let out an, “Ooooooooh! I get it!” And she did! She started doing the regrouping flawlessly!
At that point, I was hooked. I had made a difference with this little girl. The feeling I got helping her was worth more than money. It spoke to my intense desire to help others. It was at that exact moment when I decided to become a teacher.