Open to everyone 18 years of age or older.
So I’ve decided I want to be an English teacher.
One day in my Freshman English class, I looked at my fellow students and decided that I wanted to be a teacher. We were reciting monologues from Romeo and Juliet, and hardly anyone around me had theirs memorized. The classroom was full of an oppressive and awkward silence before my teacher told us to sit back down with a heavy sigh. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so flippant when it came to their grade. I thought that maybe if I became a teacher, I could help inspire them to put in the effort.
I’ve enrolled in honors and AP English courses throughout high school, and I’ve joined the creative writing club to continue my hobby of storytelling. As a Senior I finally set this direction of my life in stone by applying to colleges as an English major. It feels like the small, innocuous dream of my Freshman self is finally coming true. Despite all this, part of me knows being a teacher may not be the smartest career choice. Teachers don’t get paid a whole lot— I’ve known many who live in shabby apartments and stay up late grading papers well into the morning, coffee in hand. Many claim that kids are hard to work with, especially high school students, who are full of hormones and rebellion and distrust of authority. The rewards hardly outweigh the costs, some say, with the long hours, too-full classrooms, the low pay and the troublemaker kids. They can’t understand why anyone would want to subject themselves to that.
But what they don’t understand is that I’ve long since accepted the lackluster aspects of teaching. I’ve had since Freshman year to mull it over, to discuss with many teachers I look up to about what they think. Every last teacher I talked with told me the same thing: that the reason they became a teacher wasn’t for the pay, or for any physical rewards. In reality, teaching is just as much of a learning experience for the teacher as it is for the students. With every essay read teachers learn a little more, and add a new perspective to their ever-growing view of the world. Freshman year I couldn’t understand why my friends didn’t memorize their monologues, but now I see that there are a million reasons why someone might not. And with that, another mystery of the world is solved. The universe is a little closer to fitting into my jacket pocket.
Being a teacher is like being a thousand people all at once. It’s about understanding, and compassion, and knowing all voices should equally be heard. The voice of the youth is the voice of the future, and I want to hear what they have to say. That’s the real reason I want to be a teacher: because I know I still have so much more to learn, from people who often aren’t considered worth listening to.
December 31, 2021 at 11:00 PM EST
The winner will be contacted directly.