Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dear Professor “Dream-Crusher”


     Warning, this is going to be a long post with a lot of ranting, but I would love some thoughts about it if you stay with me to the end. (And there’s a great freebie!)  A little background before I get started…

     In the town where I teach, high school students do an internship for the last 4-5 weeks of their senior year. They can choose from participating local businesses and organizations and they work full time instead of attending classes.  It’s a great way for the kids to get their feet wet in the “real world” and maybe even explore a future college major or career choice.
     A few years ago, I was lucky enough to welcome “N” into my classroom as my first intern.  I knew N from years ago, when her younger brother was in my class and she volunteered to help during an after-school craft class that I taught. She even continued volunteering for years after she left our school, taking an extra bus and walking from the middle school.  Even at a young age I saw something special in N. She had a patient and supportive manner, a creative and contagious enthusiasm and a natural ability for working with young kids.  I lost track of N a little over the next few years so I was thrilled when she got in touch about doing her internship with me.  And the best part? She was planning to pursue teaching when she entered college the next fall.
     The time N spent with me that spring confirmed everything I had previously thought about her. That special young girl had blossomed into a phenomenal young lady, and her ability to inspire and connect with young children had matured into a true gift.  I was thrilled to be even a small part of journey to becoming a teacher.
     When N got to college, she excelled at so many things – she had As in all of her teaching classes, got involved in student government, joined a sorority and also developed a passion for politics.  I was (and am) so incredibly proud of her!
     Enter Professor Dream-Crusher. Dun dun dun!! Last semester, N took a class with this nimrod professor and he gave her a C and then had the insolence to tell her that she should “reconsider her major because he doesn’t see her becoming a successful teacher.” As a result, my sweet, sweet N is now second guessing herself about whether she should pursue her other passion (politics) instead of teaching. This is heartbreaking on so many levels that I don’t even know where to start.
     First of all, way to be unsupportive, Professor Cretin.  As teachers, we have a duty to encourage students, not kick them when they’re down. If N was indeed doing C work (which I find doubtful) you could have used your expertise to help her find her way, but instead you decided to shatter her dreams! Shame on you, Professor Dimwit!
     Secondly, I believe that the teachers that make the most impact on their students at any level, from kindergarten through college, are the ones that have a true passion for teaching.  If this misguided professor still had such a passion, I don’t believe he would have treated a student so insensitively.  So perhaps in this case, the student can inspire the teacher. Take a look at N, Professor I-Have-No-Business-Shaping-Young-Minds – that’s what passion looks like!
     Lastly, I feel it would be absolutely tragic for the teaching field to lose such a gifted spirit before she even gets started.  I’ve worked with seasoned veteran teachers who don’t hold a candle to N, and I even told my principal to keep his eyes open for her resume in a few years.

OK, end of rant.

     N, if you’re reading this, I have one wish for you as you’re on the path to discovering who you are and who you want to become.  I wish with all of my heart that you follow your heart.  Listen to what it tells you, and block out not only the voices of jaded professors, but also the well-intentioned voices of family and friends. Ignore even the advice of your #1 fan (me).  If you decide that your passion is teaching, then go full throttle! You can pursue your interest in politics by getting involved in local campaigns. If you decide that your passion is politics, then follow that path. You can always volunteer at a local school or youth program to share your gift with kids in need. Just make sure that it is your own voice that speaks to you the loudest!

     In honor of N, who from what I hear is currently obsessed with bees, I have a little Flash Freebie for you.

     If you leave a comment with some advice for N or you leave a comment letting me know that you, like N, are studying to be a teacher, I’ll send you my “Bee Responsible” Emergent Reader and Craftivity pack.  Be sure to leave your email and don’t dawdle – this Flash Freebie ends Monday night!
Love you, N!


42 comments:

  1. Nobody should have their dreams crushed, no matter what age. Continue to support and push her to follow her dreams. I had a professor do the same thing to me and I almost quit my path to an educational career. Then I walked back into an elementary school and thought, this is where I belong. I hope that she becomes the amazing teacher that you see in her.

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

    ReplyDelete
  2. My advice to N is the same as yours.... Follow the path that feels right to you in your gut.
    Lslouka@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Any chance that Professor Dimwit could have been a high school guidance counselor at one point, because that is the same advice I received from my guidance counselor...except she suggested that I should consider cosmetology instead. My advice to N...follow your heart and if it leads you to teaching write a letter to Professor Dimwit to let him/her know that you are indeed a successful teacher (that's what I did and it was very therapeutic).
    Kimberly
    Funky First Grade Fun

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also had my dreams of being a teacher crushed by a teacher in my final year of high school. Now, 10 years on, I am finally studying to be a teacher and I love it! I only wished that I had pursued my studies sooner. You offer good advice...listen to your heart and do what makes you happy!
    Kirsty
    littlelearners101@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had my dreams of being a teacher crushed since I was in Pre-K, when my teacher told my mom to never let me be a teacher because teachers were underpaid, overworked, and didn't get any respect. Since that moment, I had many dream crushers tell me to not go into the education field. Like a silly young girl, I listened and majored in something else in college. I graduated and as soon as I walked on that stage I thought, "what in the world have I been doing??? My heart belongs in the classroom!" All these years, I had been volunteering in classrooms, taking an education class here and there, all the while denying what I really wanted to do with my life. I ended up doing an alternative certification program and its the best decision I ever made. Never, ever let anyone tell you what you know in your heart and soul is right for you.

    thepolkadotowl@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. N is so lucky to have a wonderful mentor like you! My advice to her would be to keep her head up high and know in her heart that she is truly meant to be a teacher- because teaching is a profession that you are called into and she obviously has been! I wish N all the best!!

    warnerem@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. My advice to N is the same as yours...follow your heart. N is incredibly lucky to have a mentor as yourself.

    wa1728@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would tell N to not stop believing in her dream. Her professor is just one person. She is lucky to have a mentor like you!

    Karen.Strawser@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  10. "N"...Don't give up, Show him up!!
    Be the best darn teacher and let him eat his words;)
    I am a life long learner and would love this book as I have loved all of your things..
    bharmor@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. My advice- don't let one person or opinion change your destiny. You can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it!
    pjbs@charter.net

    ReplyDelete
  12. i would tell "n" to choose what she loves. life is too short. i don't remember a college professor doing anything like this. thank goodness. vhair61215@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Donna,
    this is actually the first time that I have found (and read) your blog. N's story is incredibly heartbreaking and her story has a special place in my heart. Please pass this on to N. I am a first year teacher, having graduated from college this past spring. Ever since third grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I had wonderful mentors and teachers who always believed in me. When I started my full time student teaching this past spring (my school has 5 different student teaching/internship semesters) I was given a mentor who tried crushing my dreams on a daily basis. Up until this semester my mentors and supervisors were wonderful people, encouraging me, praising me, and letting me find my place in the classroom. This one particular professor during my last semester really had me questioning my decision to become a teacher for students with special needs. All semester long she told me that I would never amount to be a good teacher, I would never build rapport with my students, would not be able to manage the other adults in the classroom, etc, etc, etc. She truly had me wanting to drop my major and try something else. On many different occassions I was doubting myself and my abilities and turned to an old high school teacher (with whom I have remained extremely close) and he told me to never give up on my dreams. He knew, when he first taught me in 9th grade, that I was going to be a teacher - I had the passion and enthusiasm that he said "makes a great teacher". He never let me give up and gave me the strength to finish out the semester and graduate with my degree in early childhood special education. I have since accepted a job (after being offered 2!), started teaching in my own classroom 6 weeks ago, manage (fairly successfully) 3 assistants in the classroom, have a wonderful rapport/connection with my students, and received my first satisfactory formal observation/evaluation. I am so happy in my new job and I absolutely LOVE it!! I am so grateful for all the advice I was given and for the people who told me to never give up! I would not be as happy as I am today if it wasn't for them. I am also a stronger and I believe better teacher because of the professor who treated me terribly. My advice for N: Really listen to your heart. If your heart says "teach", teach! If teaching is where your heart is, you will be successful. You seem to have a wonderful support system behind you and I wish you all the best of luck!! I would love to help you if there is any way I can. Good luck - you will be a wonderful teacher!!
    yoyo73188@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would tell her that one person's opinion is just that and not necessarily the truth. I was told by one mentor teacher that I should consider a different career, but that was only her opinion, every other mentor teacher I came in contact with felt differently. You just can't always listen to one person's opinion. vanessamears@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Please tell N that she should not let one person's opinion prevent her from fulfilling her dream. We teachers also have thick skin, we hear negativity from our parents, fellow teachers, and the administration, the bigwigs downtown and other people. As long as she knows she did the best she could, she shouldn't worry about others.

    rmariemuniz@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Everyone has given such good advice! I would definitely tell N that this is a good time to learn from that "professor" of what not to say to students. I had a terrible mentor in my 2nd student teaching assignment and luckily had so many wonderful ones before her. I always tell people she "taught" me all the ways not to be a good teacher. Follow your heart N and remember what every job you do you need to love it. Can you imagine waking up each morning and not loving your job? I can't and that is why I teach! Everyday is a new day!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh Dear N please don’t let a C and one person’s advice discourage you. From what Donna has said about you, you are a phenomenal teacher. We need you among our ranks. The education world needs someone who has showed a strong interest from an early age; someone who has the skills and love towards children. Yes, it’s important to follow your heart but remember there are way too many politicians and not enough gifted teachers like yourself. We desperately need you and most importantly the kids need you. Here is a chance to prove your professor wrong. My very first teacher told me that I “would be lucky to ever finish high school”. Her negative voice still echoes through my head but I decided to prove her wrong (with the help of teachers who saw me differently and praised my successes instead of focusing on my faults). I not only graduated from high school, I graduated with honors from my university. You totally got this. Go into education and you will never look back. Follow your long loved dream, you’re so close.
    Marina from WA
    mmiri2011@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I feel sorry for N to have come this far only to have her dream of becoming a teacher stomped on by someone who evidently doesn't know her very well. I hope that she can look back on all the positives in her life and not let this one negative get her down. My father did not want me to go into education, but I pursued my dream. Today, many years later, he is one of my biggest supporters.

    Susan Ferguson
    lizf38@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would tell her to also follow her dreams. I wanted to go back to college after my divorce, and was told by someone in the education department that I would never make it. I graduated and got my teaching degree which led me to a great career!How sad that her professor said that. What if we said things like that to our young learners!!!

    loragaul@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. omgosh - she TOTALLY sounds JUST. LIKE. ME!
    I had this ONE professor (who I had for TWO different classes)...ALL my other classes I was getting As and doing phenominal...but this professor ALWAYS gave me C grades... the assignments were subjectively graded, so I kind of felt like she had it out for me...I was SO upset by my C grades, and she said that I just wasn't getting "the teacher thing" UGH!!
    fast forward 10 years....National Board certified teacher, masters in reading, and (when I taught 3rd) some of the best test scores...soooo...you tell her just to ignore that moronic professor...because out in the real world?? what she learns in those classes won't really matter anyway :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. My best advice: hang in there! I too, was like "N." I had a professor who doubted my abilities simply because I was the quiet one in class. However, last year was my 6th year of teaching and I received "Teacher of the Year" at my building. It goes to show that no matter who doubts you, as long as you hang in there and keep trying your hard work will pay off!

    ashley.baker@usd453.org

    ReplyDelete
  22. N should ignore this Professor Dream Crusher and do what makes HER happy! AS teachers we don't realize how much we can impact children's lives just by what we say. I always tell my kindergarteners that the next president may be sitting in this very room. Teachers should nourish young minds and guide them in accomplishing their dreams not tell them they can't do something! This article outraged me that a teacher is telling students they don't have what it takes to be a teacher. I am upset right with you and I don't even know N! As teachers we have the ability to improve the next generation by getting them excited to learn and we can always use another enthusiatic teacher! I say tell N not to give up her dream of teaching and for that Professor Dream Killer to go jump in a lake!
    On an unrelated isssue I LOVE your blog and have gotten a lot of use out of all your craftivities this year and teaching marshmallow toes to my kinders was genius! Keep the wonderful ideas coming!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I know an N as well and it is unfortunate that there are people who discourage such truly passionate who want to make a difference in the lives of our youth. I hope N doesn't give up.

    cocoalexis@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am just beginning my teaching career and appreciate your blog and all the work you do! Keep it up! I'd love the “Bee Responsible” Emergent Reader and Craftivity pack"! It looks awesome!


    rebecca.badeau@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tell N if she is passionate about being a teacher, then do it!!! Do NOT listen to those who obviously don't teach well or enjoy their jobs!
    erika.roper1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Enjoy what YOU do everyday! I've always liked when I heard someone say, "Be a Tigger not an Eeyore-." I can't wait to use the "bee Responsible" reader! You always have great ideas!!!!
    Beckie

    beckienieman@bellsouth.net

    ReplyDelete
  27. So many people will try to tear you down but the most important thing is that if you have a gift it is well worth it to go for it!! I myself have always dreamed of being a teacher and I have met several people who have told me that I shouldn't. You can't listen to the "advice" of one when so many have your back!! Chin up N, use the negative as motivation and prove the dimwit wrong! :) zinnwife2011@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Teaching looks and feels different than what we are all taught in the university classes. A "C" student can be the best teacher ever because of their individual drive, passion and heart. An "A" student can be a total failure in the classroom because that person can't reach the students, doesn't have the commitment or finds the work too much. If this young lady wants to be a teacher, then she should pursue her dream. What does one professor know about what is in her heart, and what God's plan is for her. Perhaps this is the opportunity to stand firm and prove someone wrong, rather than change plans and prove them right.

    I will pray that she finds the strength to go forward. That's what teachers do.
    sherrymatheson@gmail.com
    sherry-matheson.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Dear N,

    Never let what other people say bring you down because throughout life you will find that there are many "dream crushers" out there. I always chalk things up to two things when people try to pitch their negativity my way: 1) they are unhappy people in unhappy situations or 2) they are jealous of my happiness and try to steal it away for themselves. So, you become whatever you want to be, not because someone has torn you away from your dreams, but only because it is what your heart desires.

    faithfulinfirst.blogspot.com
    pinksmyink@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I truly believe that it takes a special person to be a teacher. I love when people tell me that they could never do my job and I get to tell them that I love my job! So N, if teaching is truly what you want to do then you should continue on the path to becoming a teacher regardless of what one professor says!

    Kari :)
    karianne1120@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. A wise teacher once told me...
    "They might not remember everything you've taught them, but they will NEVER forget how you made them feel"

    I remind myself this everyday...good luck N!

    -ncam@ucla.edu

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for being the supportive force in "N"'s life! I was placed in a first grade classroom for a 20 hour practicum while in college. At the end of the time the teacher told me I wasn't cut out for teaching and that I should look into being a flight attendant. She totally crushed my spirit but I continued on. I will never regret my decision to not listen to her - I have taught 31 years and LOVE what I do. Tell "N" to listen to her heart and to YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  33. oops - I forgot to leave my email.....I love your blog and all that you create. Thank you for your inspiration. pobstp@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. N,
    You are exactly the kind of person we need in education. Do not let one person bring you down!

    hikkup@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Follow your heart and aspire to inspire others. Whether it be in front of children or politicians, always "do you." No one else is going to live your life, but you. My email procissig@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. You tell your little friend to continue to follow her dream! When I first thought about being a teacher, I had a lot of people who told me to forget about it - that I should settle for something else. I ignored them - and today, I'm a master teacher. Go for it - and ignore him! quiltwoman0@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. She should follow her dreams! There are always those who should keep their mouth shut:) Like others who commented, I was told I probably wouldn't find a job after I finished student teaching because I wasn't very good. Twelve years later I am on my second masters and have great success with my students.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Well, I totally understand. I started at the school I still teach at and was part of a pilot teaching program on a reservation. Being one of the first Native American teachers to graduate & be hired. I had to deal with many teachers who felt I shouldn't be there. I received the most difficult at risk students, was left out of the loop on any upcoming events, no academic support or sharing from peers etc I questioned my ability & career. Was this worth it? But, I am here 22 years later and I still love what I do! Our school has changed alot & now have several Indian teachers. I am even a mentor to new teachers. So hang in there and don't let anyone steal your thunder N!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sounds like "N" just learned a lesson on "how not to teach!" (Which stinks but can be very valuable) Never let one negative person put a shadow on your dreams. I can't think of a better job!
    drodman@saintcharlesschool.net

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dear N,
    Surround yourself with people who support YOU!
    Best wishes always!
    bigginst@bresnan.net

    ReplyDelete
  41. when I did my student teaching some 27 years ago, I had a cooperating teacher tell me the same thing. Don't let 1 person ruin your passion. Please don't stop now! You have lots of teachers backing you up! We all stick together...graduate...then we all will get that professor!

    Cheryl
    cmusgrove@bedford.k12.va.us

    ReplyDelete