THIS is why I wanted to teach. To walk into a room and know with every inch of your being, you are changing some one's life for the better. I am struggling with my tong in the fork-in-the-road of my life right now. I made a choice a long time ago to forgo a financially grand career to be a teacher. I remember the whispers of disappointment around me, but knew it was what I was called to do. I can almost remember all of the reasons and motivating causes I preached to naysayers, but to be honest they have faded in my heart. I chose one way and I started my path strong and determined and then the further I got from the fork, the less pull I felt in my heart. I still try to pinpoint what it is, exactly that has jaded me... politics, old, tired and despairing teachers, paperwork, President Bush... I don't know. When I decided to take a few years off to start my family, I was a little relieved and very scared. I busted my ass teaching and I walked away feeling like it could all be undone in 3 seconds. It's hard to want to continue to bleed yourself into something, when you know in a few weeks, months, years it will be as if you were never there. Never existed. No change. I will NOT teach if my heart isn't in it. Teaching isn't a job like many other that you can just show up to and push your way through it. The kids know and it effects their lives. If you are a teacher and you walk into your classroom everyday burnt out, hopeless, and angry you should quit. The damage being done to those children is insurmountable. All you are doing is teaching our children how to be hopeless and all they are learning is how to be disappointed.
I recently joined Facebook, and I haven't decided if was a good decision or not. I have filled up my friends list with people in my current world on this side of the fence, but I've also run into lots, LOTS of old friends and classmates. Looking at friends who started out on the same road I did and took a different path; a path that led to financial success, status, and glamour almost knocked me out. I'm already dizzy with questions and doubt, the last little push was this mingling of what if's. What if I decided to go into engineering like I planned? What if I went to UT instead of SFA? What if I could have made a bigger impact as a lawyer? What if I made the wrong choice?
Seeing this piece about Sharpstown HS in our local paper makes my heart swell and I can feel the pull again. Ms. Smith IS a teacher. She walks into her classroom everyday and changes lives. I hear hope in her voice, her students' voices and their success has inspired many other kids who most people, teachers included have given up on. I cannot imagine that this woman struggles with the what if's like I do. She has walked into a school full of black and Hispanic children that most people cross the street to avoid. She chose to work at a school that has been in the news for all sorts of bad things and on TEAs oh shit list for a few years running. That my friends is heart and she is my new hero.