Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What'n the world made yins wanna teach anyhow?

I'm curious to see what the inspiration of the rest of you all in the class is.  It'll be easy comment points and all I'm asking is to talk about yourselves, shouldn't be too bad.  I'll start.
I graduated from a small town school in 2004, then took a year off to camp, fish, and joke around.  I began working a factory job in February of 2005 (Valentine's Day to be exact, but I had nothing better to do).  From the start, I knew it was not for me, but I worked full-time midnight shift for three years before deciding I must go back to school.  Because the love of my life is the outdoors, I came to SRU for Park and Resource Management.  In High School (and even still now in college) I was a jackass of all subjects, I am a B range student in everything so find it difficult to see any strengths.  College Writing I with Dr. Balok (taken my second semester) was the turning point.  She became a mentor and finally talked me into looking deeper into myself to see what strengths I had.  Some of the most influential people in my life have been my teachers.  I have always wanted to make a difference in the world (especially since I can't seem to achieve that behind the thick factory walls and over the loud hum of machinery), and teaching may be the perfect way for me to do so.  Although there are still a few times that I doubt my abilities to be a teacher, I feel like this is one of the things I was meant to do. 

So...What brings you here?


  1. Hmm...well, I'm the type of person who always wanted to be a teacher. I have been teaching my baby dolls and siblings since I could speak. I loved to go to Staples as a little girl and buy teaching supplies and spend hours in my room "pretending" to teach. I started out as an elementary education major until I had Interpreting Literature freshman year with Mr. Dandoy and found a love for English. I also realized (after being fresh out of high school myself) that there are so many hurting and struggling young people out there who need someone, like a teacher, to care and help them make it through the difficult years of middle/high school.

    So, here I am ready to take on the challenge of teaching teenagers about English AND life.

  2. i have to say, i stopped in to read this one because the title reminded me of home.
    anyway, it was one of my high school teachers that made me want to teach. i had him in 10th grade, and he was one of the weirdest people i've ever met, but also the nicest. he made his class interesting by making little side comments that were hysterical...but it was one of those things were some people would find it funny and everyone else would just be laughing AT him. he didn't care though. he reached out to me because i was going through a tough time and we became good friends ever since. he really is the reason i am who i am today, and thats the kind of teacher i want to be.

  3. I hope everyone in class comments on this post- I love these stories! Mine is somewhat similar to yours actually! I was one of the "smart bored kids" throughout my years of public education, excelling at pretty much everything, except math. At first I wanted to be an artist. I don't know what lead me to want to be a teacher, but once I was set on that I was SET. I loved, and still do, movies like "Freedom Writers" where the teacher is able to save the kids and provide a place where they can feel safe and have a family. I also had wonderful teachers, one in fourth grade specifically, who had a part of his room where he had an old couch, tons of books, and made a little "room" where we could just come if we needed somewhere to stay. I never knew what subject I wanted to teach, though, and I started SRU as a Physical Education major. I wanted to teach health, but that comes along with Phys Ed, which comes along with swimming, which I can't do. After drowning in Aquatics for a semester straight, I went to History Education, which also lasted about a semester. Throughout all of these majors, I took Interpreting Literature with Dr. Balok and College Writing Two (I tested out of one) with Dr. Lope Lopez. Both Dr. Balok and Dr. Lopez asked me if I was an English major, and were surprised when I said I was Physical Education. Dr. Balok was really the one who influenced me as well, although I did meet with both her and Dr. Lopez. I always loved English and I strongly considered majoring in the subject from the beginning, but had been discouraged by my parents who did not think I was a strong enough writer. I'm so glad that I had the teachers and professors in my life that I did- without emailing and calling High School teachers (I even had a two hour phone call / nervous break down my freshman year to my High School Principal about what subject to teach) and college professors, I would not be in English Education... and I would be miserable! I love it here, and I'm never leaving again. This is my first time having the same major for two consecutive semesters- and I LOVE IT.

  4. Sort of similar situation.. I didn't start out as an English Ed. major. As a kid I always said I was going to be a hair dresser- I have two sisters and they were always asking me to do their hair. My family always told me to be a chef, because I love to cook & bake... but I knew if I did that I would gain 100 lbs! So once I was in 9th grade or so I thought to myself- what am I really going to do the rest of my life?? No longer living off of the dream of being a hair dresser, I decided I'd like to be an English teacher. In 10th grade we had to take some sort of career class and I remember we had to give a presentation on whatever we wanted to be when we "grew up" or graduated.. I gave a presentation that I wanted to be an English teacher, my teachers in Jr. High made me love the subject and I wanted to do the same for others. Unfortunately though, a couple of my high school English teachers began to make me not love it as much. They just didn't have a passion for teaching, and it made me think I would end up like them. So in 11th grade I took a psychology course and wasn't really interested in the material but liked the idea of being a psychologist- because like a teacher I could help people. So that's what I enrolled at SRU as, a Psychology major. During the first semester I realized it was not for me. It was too science/ math based and neither of those are my strengths. So second semester of freshman year I remained a Psych. major but just took liberal studies classes until I decided what I wanted to do with my life. During this semester I took College Writing 2 and Interpreting Lit. both with Dr. Reynolds (she was hired part time and was only here my first year.) I had also had college writing 1 with her, and she really influenced my decision to choose English- I talked with her and she told me the many different things I could do with an English degree, but I decided on English Ed. remembering that presentation I gave in 10th grade and how much I had wanted to become a teacher then. So 1st semester sophomore year I took British Lit. with Dr. Pitard and here I am now In the second semester of my junior year taking 21 credits trying to graduate on time!! (3 Ed. classes and 4 English courses) I haven't regretted my decision since I changed my major- not even when I am up late typing ten page papers or trying to finish a novel.. I love every minute of it.

  5. These are very inspirational! I hope more of your classmates contribute.

    1. Just so you know, T.O., you can add your story here too.

    2. Better late than never! I hope some of the others reply, too.

      It's funny, because I was actually not inspired by a teacher, rather by teenagers.

      Honestly, I never thought of becoming a teacher. I was a "communications major first, THEN an English major." I wanted to make films, TV shows, plays, etc. I worked for Walt Disney World (which I fondly refer to as Dismal World---I even used that in an e-mail with Director Kevin Smith...who thought it was hysterical) but soon realized that I wasn't happy.

      I had been teaching acting and playwriting at after school programs and thought...."hmm....teaching would be kind of cool....but I don't know." It wasn't until I was a counselor at a pre-college program that I thought about it seriously. I really, really enjoyed working with teens at a camp at UCLA (I wanted to spend the summer in Hollywood!) and actually hand-delivered resumes to schools. (Something I would still advocate doing...I'm a non-traditionalist.) Anyway, I first applied to be a media specialist, but didn't get that job. The head librarian remembered me and told the principal about me because she knew they needed a TV Production teacher.

      I was excited because I had found a job where I could work with cool kids, and make TV programs. Keep in mind I had never taken an education course in my life. (While FLA education is a bit behind, I have them to thank for my career.) My first day was a nightmare. Discipline. I couldn't believe how kids talked to me! My second and third days weren't much better. I realized that I needed more planning, and eventually I got the hang of it. I was only supposed to teach for a year or two as I was saving up to go to LA...but after the first year I saw the movie To Sir with Love and identified so strongly with Sidney Poitier's character, that I decided to stick with it.

      I could go on forever, but I don't want to make this TOO long of a post. Nonetheless, I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to teach teachers at SRU, because I want you all to have as much knowledge as possible before they go into the field.

      It's strange....what started out as a whim has taken me beyond my expectations. While I haven't written that screenplay yet, I still may.

  6. It's so interesting to read how all of you have ended up here! My story goes a little like entire life I have always loved reading and writing. Not only did I write when I was assigned, but I wrote in my free time, particularly creative writing. Now, when it came to deciding what I wanted to do with the rest of my life teaching wasn't my first or even second choice (aside from when I was little, but what kid doesn't want to be a teacher growing up). Throughout high school I actually wanted to become a flight attendant. I wanted to travel and work with people...that didn't last too long after I realized the job wasn't exactly like that. When I got accepted to SRU I was a social work major; once again I wanted to help people who desperately needed it. Then I came to the realization that the empathetic person that I am would probably have a mental break down if I had to experience the dark side of reality all day, everyday. Halfway through the summer I got hit with the gut feeling that social work definitely wasn't for me, either. So, I changed my major to Secondary Ed. Like Kara, I would have loved to teach Health, but not the actual PE side. So with that crossed off my list, without further hesitation I chose to teach English. English AND helping people all rolled into one...why didn't I think of that before?! So basically, my constant longing to better the lives of others brought me here. I want to be a confidant to those students who may not have any other person to turn to. I want those students who have never felt worthy to realize their potential and to give them hope for the future. I want to show students that they CAN succeed and that within the walls of a classroom or in the pages of a novel, life lessons can be learned.

  7. I feel like I somewhat relate to your story in how you decided to become a teacher. In high school, I was always pretty good in all of my classes, and sadly I was able to do really well without trying (an extremely bad habit I picked up that I wish I didn't have). English was always one of my favorite classes, mainly because I enjoyed reading, but also because I loved my teachers in almost every English class I had. When I graduated from high school in 2005, I went to San Francisco State University with no idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At first I was extremely interested in something along the lines of criminal justice, so I claimed that as my first (be prepared there are many others to follow) major. I initially wanted to be a Homicide Detective (but didn't want to become a cop for years and years to get there), then wanted to be a Criminal Psychologist (something that still intrigues me today), to then a Forensic Scientist. I finally decided that none of these professions were really my calling and decided to find another major. I had transferred to San Jose State University by this time, a school a little closer to home, and had switched my major to Biology, deciding I wanted to be a doctor. This lasted maybe a semester before I realized I was NOT cut out for a Biology degree and I felt a little lost, not knowing what I wanted to do or really where to go from there. I hit a little speed bump and decided to take at least a semester off school to kind of get myself together and try to figure out what I wanted to do. I then came back to just a community college in my hometown taking a couple of English classes (these had always been my fall back classes when I didn't know where to go because I enjoyed them so much and constantly found myself enrolling in another random English class just because I thought it would be fun). At this time I was working at a pool as a manager/lifeguard/swim instructor/ swim coach and I absolutely loved working with kids and being able to teach them something they couldn't initially do. The look on their faces when they FINALLY got something that I had been explaining and showing them how to do for some time was absolutely priceless. I then realized that was exactly what I wanted to do forever, to help people learn and be able to not only teach kids, but hopefully make a difference to someone, help them realize their full potential. Since combining this with my love for Enlgish, I haven't looked back or regretted this decision since. I think it has helped being here at Slippery Rock because I absolutely love almost every English professor I've taken here and can't wait to get out into my own classroom.