Thursday, July 17, 2014

How I Became a Teacher - My Journey to 3rd Grade

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It was never my intention to become a teacher. I never had any grand aspirations of "shaping the world of tomorrow" or "trying to make a difference" or any of that type of thing. In fact, I didn't even go to college with the intent of studying education. I went to college to study to become a pastor.

I attended Pensacola Christian College to study Pastoral Ministries. This is a great school if you are interested in studying the Bible. It is, however, not a school for everyone, but that has nothing to do with this story. After a semester or so, I quickly realized that, even though I still wanted to be a pastor, Pastoral Ministries was not for me. I didn't "fit in" with that crowd and so I needed to change my major. So, I decided to study to be a lawyer. From one side of the spectrum to the other, right?

When I spoke to my academic advisor about the major change, she suggested that I consider pursue something like history or English instead of pre-law. The reason was that, if studying law didn't work out, I would have something else to fall back on. With this thought in mind, I decided to change my major to Elementary Education. This would allow me to study a wider variety of subjects (math, science, history, English) instead of just focusing on one main area. Plus, there was about a 99:1 ratio of females to males in the Elementary Education department. In many of my classes, I was the only guy. Unfortunately, many of them were friends with the girl I was dating at the time, so...moving on.

While I was studying and practice-teaching, I was still preparing and desiring to become a pastor, more specifically a youth pastor. Turns out I was pretty good at being a teacher. Obviously I was a little rough around the edges and not what my professors would call a "star pupil," but I did pretty well. I completed my student teaching, graduated, and moved back home. I was volunteering at my church as the lead youth worker and I got a job at Faith Christian School as a 4th grade teacher. That was my introduction to full time education. That first year was incredible. I had a wonderful class of students. It was a small school, so I had a small class and I team-taught with a wonderful teacher, doing what I do today: math and science. During this year, I also got engaged to the girl who is now my wife (we've been married for 10 years!).

After getting engaged, I realized that I needed to make a little bit (by a little, I actually mean a lot) more money, so I began looking into working for the public school system in my county. I had a few connections from a summer job I had had in the personnel department and that helped me to get an interview. I interviewed and that fall I began my career as an elementary school teacher. I have been in the county for ten years at this point.

My teaching career has had some ups and some downs. I was still interested in becoming a youth pastor and even served as one part-time for nearly a year. I honestly believed that I was going to leave education and become a youth pastor full-time. It would appear that God had other plans for me. I am no longer in that ministry and have found a deeper love for my job as a third grade teacher. Part of that comes from my work with Teachers Pay Teachers. It is always interesting how people end up doing what they do.

My journey to becoming a teacher began with a desire to become a pastor. Through several twists and turns, I cannot imagine doing anything other than being a teacher. I have been blessed with an awesome team and great students and the county I work for takes very good care of me. I am truly blessed.

How did you become a teacher? Leave a comment and share your story.


  1. At one point as a kid, I wanted to be a teacher... but by the time I was headed to college, I chose Biology as my major. I loved science (and still do!) but I wasn't sure what I wanted to DO in science. I found it interesting, but couldn't picture something I would want to do every day that fit in with other things I wanted in my life. After my first year of college, I worked with a biology camp for high school students and realized how much fun it was to TEACH science. I had done a lot of babysitting, had led a Vacation Bible School group, been a cadet teacher in high school, and even ran a summer day camp with my cousin when we were teenagers one year, but it was working with this science camp that helped me realize I should switch my major. And as much as I loved science, I knew I liked a lot of other things too- and elementary offered an age group I liked much better as well as the opportunity to (sometimes) teach a little of everything. Once I switched and got to spend more time in a classroom, I knew it was the right fit and I really love how much the job challenges me. Just took me a little while to figure out it was where I belonged :)

    Loved hearing your story!


  2. I love hearing stories about what led others to teaching, thanks for sharing yours :-) I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I would always "play school" as soon as I got home from school. I guess the desire came from coming from a family of teachers; my grandmother and great-grandmother were teachers. There were times I thought about doing something else, but I think it's my love for all the different subject areas that made me realize being an elementary teacher was the way to go. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I keep falling in love with the profession more and more!