Today is known as “Future Teachers of America Day,” and to celebrate, I’ve composed an open letter to any future educators out there reading. I only spent 7 years inside the classroom as a teacher, but I hope that this letter makes my time and experience into a valuable moment for someone about to enter the profession.
So, you’ve made the choice to pay the dues and become a teacher… Good for you!
Or is it?
If you are like me, the choice to enter the field of teaching is one you made long before you even filled out college applications or took the SAT. The certainty hit you suddenly one day and never wavered. The call rings loud and clear in your head and your heart. You want to help children grow; to nurture them and feed their brains.
You are a future teacher.
You’ll learn many concepts, skills, and methodologies in college. Some you’ll love and latch onto; some you will despise and find completely useless. Reminders will play like broken record: the pay is awful, you won’t be respected, your first year will be the worst, college doesn’t prepare you for a single day in the “war zone.” Yet, you’ll keep going because you are determined . You’ll ignore 90% of what people say and think you have all the answers.
But, the truth is… you don’t.
You won’t have the answers when students come to school in soiled clothing and hungry. You’ll be without answers when a parent email makes you cry. You won’t have the answers when the students laugh and say, “That’s what she said!” in the middle of a math lesson. You’ll be without answers when co-workers whisper about you in the hallway. You won’t have the answers when you are forced to switch grade levels or make the choice to change schools.
But this is what it’s like to be a teacher.
The answers won’t come because the question is always, “Why?” Actions, however, speak louder than words, and the actions will come to you so easily, because everything you do comes from the heart. The same heart that called to you to become a teacher.
For every moment you find yourself screaming and kicking the copy machine during your planning period or on your lunch break, you’ll have a piece of artwork or homemade goodie made just for you. Each sleepless night will have a transformative day to counteract it. For every late night spent grading papers or at a basketball game, you’ll have at least 3 students who finally understand the quadratic formula or how to use a semicolon. Each hateful message from a parent will have a mother’s hug to balance it out. Every heartache will be rewarded tenfold with the happiness that teaching brings to your heart.
Remember this, future teacher. It doesn’t matter whether you spend 3 semesters or 30 years in the classroom; what matters is that you made the most out of every moment with those children and somehow changed their lives. Because, after 7 years standing in front of students, I can tell you this: teaching is where the magic happens, and teachers are true miracle workers.
Best wishes for you and the bright future of all of your potential students, young future teacher. You got this!
Feature Image by @headofsecurity via Instagram