My high school principal was much like what I would imagine to be your typical high school principal: stoic, kind of scary, sometimes compared to a grizzly bear.
I was never the sort of student who was recognized in the main office. I didn’t call for much disciplinary attention, nor praise in the academic or athletic sense. I sort of glided by in high school, and was surprised when I discovered that the principal knew my name–and could match it to my face at that!
That’s not why I’m thanking him, though. I’m not about to write an entire entry thanking my high school principal for being able to recognize me out of almost 1500 students. And I’m not writing this to thank him for being a great principal, though I could–and maybe I should. He really did do a lot for our school and I’m sure that a lot of my fond memories from that place were possible because he was perfectly balanced as a principal. He let us be heard, but was always there to stop things from getting carried away. He was very understanding, but always let us know that he meant business.
Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing this entry.
During my senior year of high school, I took a class that counted for college credit called “teaching professions.” Because this class was designed to prepare us for the real world of teaching before we fully committed to the major, it ended with an interview.
At the end of the year, everyone who took the course got dressed up, put together a portfolio (containing 24 essays, 48+ pieces of evidence, pictures, pamphlets, the whole deal), and sat down with two faculty members for a mock interview.
Most everyone got someone they didn’t know. A random principal from some other school or perhaps a college professor or something, but of course I get Dr. Short–a man who not only scares me but has access to more information about me than I could guess.
To make matters worse, I’m awful at talking. I trip over my words and say “um” and “like” and lose my train of thought–and interviews are awful! They’ll ask me one question and by the time I’m halfway through the answer, I’ll forget what I was answering, and I’ll just go in a completely different direction.
So I’m answering their questions and finding it incredibly difficult to read my principal. The entire time I’m thinking, he hasn’t smiled in a while. Ugh he’s probably so bored. My first substantial conversation with Dr. Short and I’m coming off sounding like a completely unprepared idiot!
I mean, I was babbling. Going on and on, trying to find the right answer for questions like why I want to be a teacher.
Of course I know why I want to be a teacher–I want to make a difference! I want to help kids grow. I want them to not make the same mistakes I did, and I want them to realize their true potential and push their boundaries and realize the beauties of the world. And English can help!
I want to learn as much as I can (because I obviously have a lot to learn) and then I want to teach it to anyone who will listen to me.
Of course, I have a lot more reasons that that, but that was the one I went with. So I’m yakking their ears off for probably 2 minutes just talking about that, and I’m not even sure it’s comprehensible at this point, when Dr. Short says, “who’s your current English teacher?”
“Well tell him to keep teaching for another four years.”
I didn’t really understand what he meant by this, so I said, “oh yeah, but he wants to get out before he has to completely change his teaching style to fit with technology, because all kids at Perrysburg get computers now, so I don’t know if he’ll stay that much longer.”
Dr. Short laughed and said, “I just want to have a spot for you when you graduate college.”
And I was kind of speechless–which isn’t the best thing to be during an interview. So he continued, “I would love to employ someone with your passion for teaching.”
To this day I have not forgotten those words.
I had just been offered a teaching job, at age 17, at one of the best high schools in the state–in the country! And I know he didn’t really secure me a job or anything, and he might’ve just been saying it to quiet me down (I mean, it worked!) or never intends to follow through with it, but I still consider it to be one of (if not the) highest compliments I’ve ever received.
Saying this means he believes in me. He believes that I have at least potential of becoming a great teacher. And I would love nothing more than to be able to teach at Perrysburg High School after graduating college.
So I don’t know what he meant by this comment, or what he was thinking when he said it, but I need to thank him. I did in person, but I’ll continue thanking him until I graduate probably! When I think about the future: sad salary, annoying parents, lots of pressure–I mean, it can be a lot. And I’ve never regretted my decision to pursue teaching, because it’s something I’ve always known I’m meant to do, but that comment keeps me working hard.
I want to come back to Perrysburg. And if they don’t have a spot for me, I want to go somewhere equally as great, and I want to be confident.
And Dr. Short’s comment that day is the great confidence-booster I’ve ever received.
So thank you.
PS. Song of the day: Geronimo – Sheppard