Why Did You Become A Teacher?

I’ve been to a lot of interviews and it isn’t hard to predict the questions to be faced. Top contenders being: classroom management, assessment, collaboration and 21st Century learning. Today I had an interview and the first question took me by surprise:

“Why did you become a teacher?”

What an easy question! Anyone who decides to commit to years of supply and LTOs, must have a pretty good reason. I do, but I hadn’t thought about it or articulated it for a long time.

Short answer – because I love it, and I have yet to find something I like more. I love connecting with students. I love the way that young people see the world and the possibilities. I love seeing them succeed. I love ‘aha!’ moments. I love learning. I love that what I do matters.

The long answer is more difficult (and is certainly not the answer that I shared in my interview); I almost became a lawyer.

All my first jobs were ‘teacher-ish’; babysitting, tutor in the classroom and teaching swimming and piano lessons. Everyone I knew told me that I’d be a teacher when I grew up. I constantly heard that I’d be just like my mom or my aunt and I heard to so often that I went in a different direction altogether. I was in my first year of university and dead set on being a lawyer when I realized my mistake. My then-boyfriend pointed out that I loved kids. I knew that of course, but it was the way he noticed me, noticing kids. He said that I noticed kids when no one else did (on the bus, at the mall, in the grocery story). I would frequently make faces at kids I didn’t know and we’d become silent friends. I’d stop a kid in their tracks with an arched eyebrow and at every gathering, I could be found with the kids. He asked me why I wanted to be a lawyer, and I didn’t have an answer. He asked me why I didn’t want to be a teacher and I couldn’t answer. He helped me realize what I’d been ignoring; that I was already a teacher. I just needed the degree. It was then that I started looking at the prerequisites for teachers college, and I haven’t looked back since.  

Even though it surprised me, I’m glad that their opening question was this one. I hope that it means they’re looking to hire teachers who are passionate about learning and about their students. I’m also glad that it made me reflect on my 6 years and helped me to remember why I’m still doing this difficult, crazy but oh-so-rewarding job. I hope that I can keep these reasons in the back of my head on those no-prep, full moon, everything is going wrong, sort of days.

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