In my last blog, Recruiting Future Educators, I was a little worried about how to accurately portray education as a career while also selling it as a possible profession to high school seniors. Once I entered the high school I felt quite at home, the familiar hustle and bustle of students and teachers was very similar to every other school I have visited or worked in as a teacher. After a general session with other panelists and the entire student body, I had the opportunity to hold two back-to-back breakout sessions for students that were interested in careers in education. My groups were small and the students seemed a little hesitant as they entered the room. I planned the sessions to be as interactive as possible with as many opportunities for the students to speak and share their thoughts. The students started to warm up slowly and surprised me with several questions. I expected questions about the things that teachers do or the actual training that teachers have to complete in order to become certified teachers. Although these questions did come to the surface, the questions that I didn’t expect are listed below:
- What do you think about the education in Finland versus the United States?
- Do you have problems with students and how do you deal with them when they misbehave?
- Is teaching hard?
- Why do teachers stay in teaching when they make so little money?
- How do teachers make society better?
On the surface these might seem like pretty straight forward questions with no hidden agendas, but the reality is that these questions really challenged me; not because I couldn’t answer them but because I was trying to balance my genuine responses with information the was relevant to high schoolers. Wow, I was having a teaching moment, I was attempting to provide complex information at a level that could be understood by students. In an instant I became a classroom teachers again instead of a presenter, I turned it on the same way that you would turn on a light switch. After my sessions I chatted with another teacher and realized that maybe it was I who was missing out. It has been two and a half years since I left the classroom and I miss it dearly. I miss the challenge of making learning relevant, the opportunity for creativity, my ability to think on the fly and most of all I miss my students.
I entered that high school to recruit new teachers and left having recruited myself to possibly return to the classroom as a teacher.