Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why I want to be a teacher

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

One evening, the thought of my future crossed my mind.

“So I was thinking: I could switch my major to history and be a teacher—but I don’t know,” I said to myself.

However, I did know.

I verbalized this desire only recently but quickly became hesitantly obsessed. I was hesitant because, as an occasionally miserable high school student, I claimed that I would never become a teacher regardless of my adoration for history. However, only a few weeks ago, I began to fall in love with the idea.

I have a strange relationship with school.

Reading, writing and learning about history are most comfortable for me. While I excel and take pride in these subject areas, I have remained behind in math and science.

These areas of unfamiliarity frightened me in high school. While I would be happy to read a few pages in my AP United States History textbook for fun, I would shy away from even beginning to comprehend math homework.

However, when I reflect on what I gained from high school as a learning experience, I do not remember painstakingly late nights of science projects. I remember how supportive my teachers were, particularly in subjects that I was interested in, and engaging discussions in a history or English class. I feel thankful that my teachers catered to the interests of future college students rather than the interests of silly high school kids.

While students in my small high school were generally privileged, our school’s condition did not reflect this. There were often issues with the technology in classes, which frustrated teachers when their lessons revolved around it. Instructors were often concerned about being laid off. Our town voted in 2010 not continue with initiatives to build a new school system.

It is concerning that even teachers working in relatively affluent towns need to fear unemployment. Most teachers in my high school however, would not trade their passion for their work for increased job security.

I want to be a teacher someday because I believe in education. Education could be a powerful force in reducing poverty and improving innovation. Education is an investment that has the potential to yield unprecedented beneficial economic and social results.

An increase in teachers and better learning facilities would mean a lower student-to-teacher ratio and improved technology to aid learning, investments that may improve quality of education and economic development. More education could mean vast improvements in innovation and science and mitigation of social issues such as income inequality.

While it is upsetting that only one percent of United States federal tax dollars are devoted to education according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there is a potential for education to reach the forefront of Americans’ concerns in the future, especially with America’s relative weakness in education compared to other countries.

I do not only see the national and macroeconomic benefits of education; like anyone else, I consider personal experiences as well.

I want to prepare students and give them reason to strive for a college education, like my teachers aimed to do. Some teachers gave me a reason to care about my education beyond simply making the grade for future college applications; they convinced me that whatever they were teaching had value to my life. They encouraged me to strive beyond my comfort zone. Receiving this encouragement from my teachers meant something different from the reinforcement of friends and family, something more genuine.

When I was only in second grade, my teacher told me that she was impressed by my writing skills and to send her my first published book.

Then in fifth grade, my teacher hugged me when she realized that I had won a statewide writing award for a short story.

During my junior year, my history teacher pointed out my study habits and strengths in writing when I dwelled on my weaknesses. My English teacher assured me that I was one of the best writers in my class.

I include these anecdotes not to illustrate that I was a teacher’s pet but to point out that like so many other students, teachers strongly influenced my decisions and improved my self-worth for twelve years of my life.

With any moment of self-doubt that I voiced in school, the people who educated me gave me reassurance.

I strive to be half of the inspiration and support system to students that my teachers were to me and I can only hope that Americans increasingly value education in the future by committing more tax dollars to spending on education.

Brianna Zimmerman is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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