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
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!