Throughout their lives, people make countless choices regarding whom they would like to be. In my case, I chose to be a teacher, and that decision I made for a reason. I see the concept of teaching to be intertwined with the idea of responsibility. In addition, taking responsibility requires a person to adequately manage the matter because otherwise, it would mean little. Consequently, to be able to answer the question “why” did I choose to become a teacher, I have first to answer “what” it is to be a teacher and “how” to be a teacher.
I would like to start the reflection by defining “responsibility.” Subconsciously, I always knew its meaning; however, I managed to express it in words only after I watched Dr. Nick Nissley’s presentation about leadership. The main goal behind his performance was to present listeners with a different perspective on leadership. To do so, Nissley drew an analogy between healthcare professional work and leadership. According to Nissley, a practitioner’s job is to ensure the health and well-being of an individual (TEDx Talks, 2010). Consequently, he stated that “our role as leaders is about ensuring the health of multiple individuals within that entity called an organization” (TEDx Talks, 2010, 00:04:56 – 00:05:03). From the way I see it, it is the understanding and embracing that role of caring for the well-being of subordinate individuals is called the responsibility. Teachers in the classroom have responsibilities in the same fashion – they are put in charge of the future of entrusted children. Most notably, their choice of assuming that role and knowing the implications is deliberate. Thus, this is “what” being a teacher means from my perspective.
When you possess such a responsibility, the logical question is how to manage it properly. In many ways, teaching is a sharing of experience, and, as a teacher, you bring knowledge and wisdom, as well as morals, assumptions, and prejudices. In this context, a teacher from Japan, Toshiro Kanamori, serves as a perfect example of how a teacher should apply his skills. Aware of his inability not to project his personal experience on children, he decided to utilize that fact instead to pose an example of a moral, socially-aware person. Consequently, during his lessons, he teaches students how to be students and simultaneously how to live in society as well (Kaetsu, 2003). Among his insights belong the importance of community, teamwork, openness, tolerance, and caring (Kaetsu, 2003). Even though questions of morality are strictly subjective, I admire his approach to teaching duty. Relying on commonly acknowledged and personal principles, he attempts to enlighten children on things they might not have yet considered for them to be more prepared when the time comes. It summarizes the answer to the “how” to be a teacher question.
Finally and most importantly, there is a question of “why” to be a teacher. In particular, this question also implies why accepting such a responsibility and why trying to improve the children’s lives in any possible fashion. I grew up as the youngest sibling in a family of eleven children. My parents had to work hard to provide us with everything we would need in our future lives. Unsurprisingly, they had to be strict in controlling their children, but I am genuinely grateful for their effort. My family was a place where I learned to respect people around me. In addition, the morale, values, and principles my parents taught me helped me in each of the decisions I had to make. Another reason for the specific attitudes fostered inside me was my Catholic school. There, we spent a lot of time doing volunteer and community service, which finally solidified my altruistic passion for caring and, among everything else, caring through teaching.
I have a family now – a handsome son and a husband, and I can feel their universal love and support. Considering everything I experienced about loving and caring, I devote myself to them in return, and I gladly embrace my altruism toward non-family members as well. The most rewarding part about the teacher’s job is to see and feel the people’s gratitude for your actions. According to Digital Story Telling, memories play an essential part in the choices you make. Thus, the example showcased in Figure 1 serves as one of many motivators I have on the path I chose.
To summarize, I decided to become a teacher because of my personal growth, being fully aware of the responsibility it brings, and my intentions regarding this role. Teaching means taking care of the well-being of children in the classroom. They are entrusted with my guidance, and their future, in many ways, is dependent on me. I believe it is my job not only to provide them with a school education but also with insights into the life of society, explaining its diversity and principles. Moreover, I am motivated to teach them since I believe the good effort always comes back, and the gratitude I see on their faces and their parents’ faces is worth the implications.
Digital Story Telling. (n.d.). Pre-service teachers look at culture and teaching [Course handout].
Kaetsu, N. (2003). Children full of life [Film]. NHK.
TEDx Talks. (2010). TEDxCalgary – Nick Nissley – A Story About Leadership for Humanity 3.0 [Video]. YouTube.