For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know why, but it’s always seemed like the perfect job for me. I’ve definitely had my doubts here and there, and the lack of support and enormous skepticism that has come from certain people has tested me for sure, but, ultimately, I want to be a teacher. I want to make a difference and I want to inspire. And throughout my years as a student, I’ve had a number of perfect examples who’ve helped make this decision an easy one for me to stick with. Now is the time to thank them.
My all-time favorite teacher is my eighth grade history teacher, Mr. Hamann. Yes, history. I had never liked that subject before. I’d always been intrigued by English and math and music and languages and, well, anything but history and science. They were just boring. But Mr. Hamann had more passion in his right hand than any other history teacher I had ever had before had in their entire body.
I looked forward to his class every single day–I looked forward to studying for his class at night and taking his tests! I excelled in his class, and it wasn’t because it was easy. In fact, many people struggled with history that year. But for the first time ever (in a history class), I wanted to learn!
And I learned more in his class than I ever had before. I learned how to study and take notes and highlight only what’s important. I learned interesting facts about history and listened to more stories than I knew what to do with. I idolized Mr. Hamann for his teaching style. He knew when to joke around and when to get terrifyingly serious (we did touch on some pretty heavy subjects).
Ultimately, he’s everything I could ever hope to be in a teacher. He obviously loved his job–and his life!–and he cared about every single person he had in class. That’s who I want to be. And I thank him for being the first person to show me.
Mr. Hauge was a very popular teacher at my high school. Like Hamann, he had more passion that I was used to seeing in teachers. And he knew so much! I didn’t even get the chance to have him as my English teacher, and man was I pitied for it. Peers of mine would constantly talk about what they were learning in Hauge’s class and what they were discussing–matters far beyond that of my class. His students left class with new outlooks on life and more funny anecdotes than they had ever asked for. I left mine with homework that I never ended up completing.
But I got to have Hauge as a mentor for my senior year. I was only with him for a few weeks, but on the first day I learned three teaching “tricks” that not only would I have never thought of, but that actually worked! And on another day, as he was sitting in the back with me, just spewing knowledge about teaching, he referenced a book that I had to read. Then he pulled the book out and handed it to me. When I went to return it after break, he told me to keep it and bring it to college–it’ll be useful. This gesture was probably so petty; he gave me a book that he no longer had any need or desire for. But it meant so much to me. And here it sits in my dorm room.
But I have to say thank you to him. For even allowing me to be in his class in the first place (I didn’t do a thing) and for teaching me so much. I’ll always remember what I learned from him.
Senior Year Teachers
Along with Hauge, I got to have three other mentors throughout my senior year: Mrs. Smolenski, Mrs. Bechtol, and Mrs. Gerber. I was expecting to learn a lot from Hauge because he’s exactly what I want to be: a high school English teacher. But I didn’t know I had so much to learn from kindergarten, fourth grade, and sixth/eighth grade teachers.
I have to first say thank you for, again, allowing me to be in class. But even more than that, I cannot express how grateful I am to have been included. I would come back to teaching professions week after week and hear of classrooms where the student mentor did nothing but copy papers and run errands.
Meanwhile, I was reading to kids, teaching games, tutoring 1 on 1, checking homework and classwork with the students, and more! I was interacting with the students–getting to see the joys of teaching firsthand. I got to work with a student who moved to the States from Finland. I got to walk in their Halloween parade (dressed as a scrabble letter with the other teachers). I got to take accelerated students to the computer lab and work with them on special projects. I got to help out with puppet shows and food days. I was more involved than I had ever hoped for and I am so thankful.
And I have to thank the kids as well. I must’ve been really lucky or something, but I seemed to have the best kids everywhere I went. And I’m not just saying that ignorantly–I saw the other classrooms. More than that, I heard stories from teachers and parents and students. But the kids I taught genuinely wanted to learn. They cared for each other and they were friendly to everyone. I got to work with students with special needs who had so much love.
I could honestly write another post entirely about how wonderful my teaching professions experience was (and maybe I will someday), but I think I need to wrap this up. So thank you. Thank you so much.