For this post I wanted to go a little deeper into one of my touchstone moments. The particular moment I want to focus on is when I was a teachers aid in high school. A recap here:
- Another juinior year story, I know. But this one is also very important to me. I was an aide for one of my favorite English teachers in high school. And being her aide I was subjected to grading tests, essays, and any other homework that had been assigned. Mostly, I graded 9th grade level work, with a few tenth graders assignments in the pile. I spent a semester doing this for an hour a day. Every day I would sit at the teachers desk and often, painstakingly, mark through assignments and essays with a standard red pen. Marking grammar, writing my thoughts and criticisms in the margins, and often close to tears wondering how these children had made it this far in life without figuring out how to use basic grammar and essay format. I often reminded myself that we all have to start somewhere, and that the standards for learning had changed in the two year gap between myself and those students. When I did this, despite being heartbroken at how those children, at the time, seemed completely idiotic, it allowed me to see just how much work being an English teacher is, and it sparked the desire in me to be a good teacher that is willing just like that teacher was to help mold students into better, literature understanding, writers. This is a touchstone moment for me because despite being beyond frustrated, I more than anything wanted to help better these children. Where most people would have shied away from the task, I embraced it and accepted the challenge for the future.
This moment was one of a few moments for myself that helped me solidify my passion for becoming an English teacher. It felt good to be a teachers aide. Students looked up to me. Students would ask for my advice on how to do better on assignments. Sitting at the teachers desk, talking to students, all felt so natural. From that moment I knew that I wouldn’t mind spending my days talking with students, spreading knowledge about literature, and helping students grow as readers, writers, and citizens. I want to make a difference for my students, I realized in those moments that though it would be hard, I was willing to put in the hours required, because I felt and still feel that the hard hours will be well worth it. Even if I fail at small things, like not always eating the healthiest diet, staying up way, way too late, and not always getting the best possible grade on my own homework. Because a few forgotten physics problems don’t compare to the life and career I’ll have with being an English teacher.