One of the most influential moments I can remember from high school happened with my favorite teacher. He taught 10th grade AP World History, and he was full of life. He expected a lot from his students, and we gave it to him, because he was fun, and kind, and respectful. As junior year slipped through my fingers, I became a teaching assistant for him. We talked and got to know each other more, and he said he came to think of me as a daughter.
So I was shocked with his response as I asked for letters of recommendation for college and beyond. The only two schools I applied to were The University of Florida and Florida State University. I ended up being accepted to both, and chose FSU. As an avid Gator fan, I expected his jeering remark of, "Why do you want to go to CLOWN college?" We laughed, and he then asked what I wanted to do, because perhaps FSU was better for my career plans. When I told him I wanted to be a teacher, he told me, with a deadpan look, "Don't do that. You can do so much more with your talents." The thing is, this didn't make me angry; it made me question myself.
At FSU, I majored in English Literature and Political Science, since reading and politics are two passions of mine. I figured I would head to law school, because surely that was a fitting career choice. But it wasn't. After one summer internship at a law office, I hated it. It was monotonous and I didn't feel that I was making a difference. Not only that, but a lawyer at the office said, "Don't go to law school. You'll hate it. Change your mind now!" So I changed my mind again. This time, however, the change was based on experience, and not bad advice.
Because, as much as I loved my high school teacher, I do think his advice was in poor taste. Now I am pursuing a Master's of Arts in Teaching, and I love it. I can share my passions with others, and touch lives. I think that is important, because it's a sad day when a teacher who seems to love his job and has the love of every student, discourages turning into him. That is who I wanted to be; he is why I wanted to teach. And I still do want to have the impact he had, and am confident I will, because I am following my dreams, and not molding myself to everyone else.
As a final note, I believe my teacher's advice also begs the questions, who can be "more" than a teacher?! Who else can give a student something that can never be taken away- an education? And who else can advocate for students who may have no one else? To me, teaching is so much more than learning about literature. It’s about putting in more effort and hours than almost any other jobs, to teach lessons of reading, writing, and life.