Monday, October 3, 2011

Why I became a teacher

Recently I posted about being a teacher and my love for my students.  That got me to remembering why I became a teacher.

Back in high school in a freshman life-skills class, we were assigned to write a paper on our future profession.  This was a farming community, you must understand.  At that time period, boys would go into farming or business with their fathers.  Girls would marry them.  Some of us ‘misfits’ would head off to college, the military, or to a job somewhere else.  This is not a criticism of my home area; it is just the way things worked then.

I wrote long and rapturously about becoming a doctor, specifically a psychiatrist.  The idea of healing and helping people was strong within me, and I wanted to do that.  The paper got an A, and I took it home.  My parents read it.  My mother nodded.  My father said, “No, Sis, you’re gonna be a teacher.” 

That was it: a teacher.  Later I thought about his answer, and speculated why he was so adamant.  First, I thought he didn’t want me exposed to the horrors that doctors must see and try to solve.  Then, I guessed that maybe he didn’t want me to see naked men, or something silly.  Finally, I decided that I would get the four-year education required for teaching, and then move on to pre-med school on my own.

Many years later when my children were in school, I needed to support the family while my husband obtained his own teaching credential.  I had options, and tested very well for many government-type jobs.  I had a temporary credential while I took two classes to satisfy California requirements. 

I was faced with either teaching or working in an office.  At that point, I was talking with my beloved father-in-law whom I called ‘Dad’ for twenty-five years.  He heard my confusion, listened to my reasoning.  His answer was, “Teach.  It is one of the few professions where who you are will make a difference in someone’s life.  What you do can change history.”

Both fathers saw something in me that I didn’t see at the time: I was a teacher, a teacher to my very bones.


  1. Your Dad was very insightful.

  2. They knew you well! Being a teacher is the most satisfying (and difficult) job you could ever have.

    They both must have been very proud of you.

  3. Insight you never knew, great when other persist and they really know you. Unless they are wrong, then that's a different song..haha

  4. I love this post! My dad was always encouraging me to do whatever it was that I wanted to do. This made me remember him and smile :)

    Isn't it funny how sometimes other people can see our potential before we can?

    Happy Monday,

  5. So powerful. Isn't it wonderful what other people can see in us, even when we're just discovering it in ourselves. :)

  6. I envy you that kind of love and dedication to what you do. A lovely story

  7. All the early testing pointed to me being an author. I went to college intending to study psychology, took no psychology courses, and studied biology and chemistry. Then I carried mail for 32 years. NOW I'm an author.

    I think my father would have been happy with anything that would have kept me from having to move back home. And he liked me.

  8. Dear Susan, as with "Jen Chandler," I, too, thought of my parents. I wanted to be either a painter/artist or a writer. Some parents would have said, "Be practical. You can't earn any money that way." But my folks just said, "Dolores you can do anything you set your mind to" and they supported whatever dream I dreamed.


  9. Very nice story - clearly it was meant to be!


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