Posted by: Genny Colby | April 30, 2014

Why I Became a Teacher

I loved school.  Sure there were days it didn’t always seem so; especially in High School when I didn’t want to go, or with classes that just kicked my butt (I’m talking to you, Chemistry, Econ, and Algebra II).  But looking back, my memories are filled with admiration and longing for the adventure which was school.  I would be a professional student if I didn’t think people would look at me funny, or if I thought I could afford such a lifestyle!  I love to learn, I love to read,  I love to research, and oddly enough, I enjoy writing papers.  So, where did this love of school come from?  Am I just a freak?  Well, probably a little bit (and those who know me would claim for other reasons)… but I can pinpoint one moment in time where a dream was planted; to one day become a teacher.

Kindergarten.  Yes, kindergarten.  Just about the first day, really.  I walked into my new classroom, found a chair with my name on it, and fell in love with my teacher.  Mrs. Julie Garfoot.  I came home from school that day and announced to anyone who was in earshot that I would be a teacher when I grew up.

Although, I have had many other wonderful teachers who made an impression on me (and those with whom I would as soon forget) – none of them will ever hold a candle to Mrs. Garfoot.  She was amazing.  Yes, I know, it was kindergarten, which in those days meant learning our ABC’s, playing with blocks, how to color inside the lines, and how to sit and work quietly at our spots (something I always struggled with).  Mrs. Garfoot was to me what my future had in store.

Why, you might ask?  The answer is simple, she made learning fun.  She made me laugh, she made me feel successful, and loved, and safe to try new things.  She allowed me to spread my wings, give something new a go, and cheered me on all the way.  She was there to help me when I struggled.  She ensured our days were filled with songs, stories, and games.  She inspired me to learn, no question was left unanswered, and she had a love for teaching which never went unnoticed.  On no occasion did I feel like something was out of reach; only that I had to work a little harder, stretch a little farther, in order to grasp the furthest of stars.

When I look back on my years of school, and how my school experiences shaped who I was, who I wanted to be, and most importantly, the kind of teacher I wanted to be… Mrs. Garfoot is always first and foremost present in my mind.  Whatever else came after, she was my first teacher, and made school such a positive experience for me.  I credit her with starting me on a life-long path which has loved learning, and given school as a means to fulfill that emotion.  She is the reason why I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.  And why I wanted to give all of my students the same wonderfully amazing start to their education as she provided me.

I think many people find it easy to blame teachers when students don’t succeed to some arbitrary satisfaction.  Or blame when entire schools don’t receive funding for programs, because of inadequate test results.  Or blame for the decrease in quality of our schools.  Blame is easy, but we must remember that teachers are who they are, not for the money, the popularity, or the style, but because they have the love of teaching.  Teachers are the ones who will have lasting impacts on the students they teach.  We need to celebrate the job they do, the connections they make, and recognize the life-long impact they have on each and every one of their students.



**This post was written for Teacher Appreciation Day, Tuesday May 6, 2014.  It was written as part of an online campaign connected with to celebrate teachers and the impact they can have on students.**

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