“We’re going to miss you, Miss Hannah!” There is nothing more fulfilling than hearing a roomful of students expressing their gratitude after a long year. These words have resonated with me since the first time I felt like a teacher. It was back in eighth grade, the preschool was connected to the middle school and my Spanish teacher had asked if I would be willing to give up my study hall twice a week to teach the three-five year olds some basic Spanish. Her main goal for me was to play games with them, teach them songs, and get them excited about learning another culture and language. I was hesitant to take on the responsibility, but I am so glad that I did. My passion for helping kids and young adults, see them grow, and recognize their potential can all be stemmed from this first learning experience.
As I grew older, education was always a huge part of my life. School was the place I genuinely felt purpose and loved taking on the challenges posed by my classes. I loved to learn, whether it be about the subject matter, or ways to succeed in life. My teachers had a huge impact on my life. All throughout high school, my math teacher Mr. Furton taught me the importance of asking questions and having a positive attitude. If I did not believe I could find the solution, I was giving myself no room for growth. To him it was all about perspective. He was an excellent teacher, who genuinely cared about his students and wanted them to succeed. My hope is to someday impact students the way he did, and show them that math is not something to dread or avoid.
Upon making the decision to become an educator I wanted to make sure I possessed all the characteristics to be effective in the classroom. In my opinion, three key characteristics set great teachers apart from the rest. They are respect, passion, and patience. It is my personal philosophy to give everyone I meet the respect they deserve until they give me a reason otherwise. The best classrooms I have been a part of are those where the teacher gets on the student’s level. When treated with respect, it is amazing how far students will thrive. My AP United States History teacher used this style of teaching, and after learning from her example, I plan to incorporate it into my classroom. Mrs. Berg would sit in a desk facing us and engage in conversation with us. At first the class was hesitant and only a few people spoke. As the year went on and we grew closer and more comfortable; every student’s opinion was heard and valued. I can honestly say I learned more about writing a proper timed essay in her history class than I ever did in an English class.
Passion is a large component in being a great educator. Someone can know everything there is to know about a subject, but if the teacher talks completely monotone and does not engage them at all, no one is going to learn. When teachers get excited, it puts a smile on students’ faces, and they become interested in what is being said. Math has been my favorite subject since elementary school. I get satisfaction from solving a problem and knowing that without a shadow of a doubt I got the answer right. To me, math has always been something steady and reliable. I particularly enjoy learning and exploring how the formulas work and can be applied. In reality, life is a story problem, and through becoming a teacher I hope to help students find their personal solutions.
Last but not least, patience is key and probably the most challenging. Through one- on -one tutoring I have learned its’ importance. At first I found it frustrating, trying to explain something that clicked so easily in my head. I caught myself thinking down on my peers, but then it hit me. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. I am not the most athletic and coordinated person in the world, nor am I proficient at baking or drawing. The fact was I had knowledge that could benefit them, but I could also learn from my tutees. Once gaining this perspective and being able to be patient, I was able to see them grow. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people reach their potential and accomplishing their goals.
Helping people and making a difference was the main goal I wanted to accomplish since I was a little girl. I dreamed of being an astronaut, a doctor, a marine biologist, and even the president, but what I have discovered defines me is my passion and investment in the people around me. As a teacher, I can influence a new group of students each year and help them make their dreams and goals a reality. I plan to give the respect and patience the students need while showing them the passion I have found throughout my experiences with education.