MEDU1010 Foundations of Math Ed, FA2018

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  • This is My Why For Becoming an NYC Educator
  • #50023


    My Why for Wanting to Become an NYC Educator
    Where do I begin? There are plenty of reasons why anyone would love to become a teacher in New York City: The starting salary for a teacher in NYC is one of the highest in the nation, the benefits package for a teacher is very attractive, and the retirement incentives are top notch. These are not the primary reasons why I want to become an educator. For me, it goes deeper than just compensation. I have a desire to impact the world in a positive way and this is my path to doing it. I have teachers that have influenced me both positively and negatively. Some teachers I remember being tough on me because they genuinely cared, while others were just tough because they felt like it was their job to be hard on students. I will go into brief detail to give you an understanding as to how both types of influences shaped my life.
    My first positive influence in school was in kindergarten. I can still remember the name of my teacher: Mrs. Rademaker. She made my only year spent at P.S. 191 both enjoyable and memorable. I may not remember a whole lot of details in my elementary school career, I do remember the love she had for her work, because it showed in how she worked with us. Mrs. Rademaker was stern, but very patient. She gave us tough love when we needed it but nurturing when we deserved it (Which was often on both accounts). She made every single day with her a memorable one and I remembered being sad whenever I missed the bus to go to school because I really loved being there. It is by mere coincidence that the very next year, I would be treated to one of the absolute worst experiences with a teacher.
    I started 1st grade at P.S. 241 which is only a block away from where I live. I remember being excited about starting school where one of my older brothers was going and being in the same class as one of my childhood friends. My initial joy, however, turned to sorrow once I was introduced to my teacher Mrs. Korson. This woman was a terrible teacher. She would break a pencil and throw it away when two students would fight over it, she snatched and ripped pages out of a book I brought from home to read. She screamed at me one time because I went ahead in the math book and answered questions in other sections correctly when she could have recommended me to be skipped or put into a gifted class. She ripped up drawings, doodles, etc. The most horrifying experience I had in her class is when she refused to allow me to use the restroom and caused me to urinate on myself. That is one experience in elementary I will never forget.
    Despite having experiences like that in elementary school, I do have other teachers who I loved dearly and still do to this day. My second-grade teacher Mrs. Ferguson was an authoritarian who believed in corporal punishment. She was, however, one of my favorites because she helped prepare me for both the spelling and math bees and I ended up being the eventual champion in both competitions three grade levels in a row (2nd, 3rd, and 4th). Mrs. Ferguson lit that spark in me that ignited the fire to burn for me to become competitive in learning competitions. Mr. Drucker, my 5th grade teacher, was a very angry individual who genuinely loved teaching his classes and it showed. He made learning fun with an in-class competition called “The Mr. Drucker Olympics”. My elementary school career prepared me well enough to appreciate the teachers I had in junior high.
    The things that stand out in my mind about junior high are that the principal made it abundantly clear that the teachers and staff were not there for us to like them or be our friends. They were there to teach us. I didn’t see it when I was 11 years old, but looking back, the teaching staff at Jackie Robinson Intermediate School 320 were setting boundaries for the students. They were showing us that we were our teacher’s equals and we had to respect their authority. Also, the staff was responsible for keep us safe and out of harm’s way throughout the duration of time that we were in the school. In short, the staff at I.S. 320 wanted us to see that they were there to protect us. From there, I understood that one of the primary roles of a teacher is to protect their kids. In 320, some of my favorite and most influential teachers were my 8th grade homeroom teacher and African American Caribbean Studies teacher Ms. Greene, my English teacher Mr. Butcher, my science teacher Ms. Gilkes, Mr. Levy who taught Math, my Spanish teachers Mrs. Davson, who convinced me to take the Spanish Regents exam in 8th grade and Mr. Campbell, who made Spanish a little more fun and digestible, and last, but definitely not least, my English teacher Mr. Butcher, who was very tough on us, but recognized great students when he saw them. When I was leaving from 320 and entering Westinghouse, I wasn’t too certain of what career path I would take.
    When I went to George Westinghouse High School, I eventually ended up taking Optical Mechanics with the intention of becoming an eyeglass maker in the future. I figured that there would be a lot of money in making eyeglasses and I was actually pretty good at it. As a matter of fact, if some of my classmates didn’t readily understand what to do in the class, I was more than willing to help them to get it. At that moment, I knew I had a knack for helping others to gain knowledge. I was told by some of my classmates that I would make a good teacher, but I dismissed it because of how badly some teachers are treated by their students. I felt so strongly about not being a teacher that I suppressed that desire and focused on making a career for myself in other areas: Optical and Computer Systems. After a while, it felt to me like I was running away from the thing I was meant to do: educate. Maybe it was how students treated teachers they didn’t like too much. It could also be that in my educational career, aside from junior high, I have very few teachers who were men of color.
    I didn’t have my first black male teacher until I entered junior high school. Most of the staff at 320 was black, aside from a few administrators and teachers. To not see people who looked like me being well represented in the classroom was once the thing that discouraged me from wanting to teach. As I moved along in my college career, I realized that being underrepresented in the school system is motivation for me to get myself together and be a hero to a child who needs one. There are many reasons why I want to be a teacher now. You can look at my transcript and finds reasons earlier in my academic career to say, “You cannot cut the mustard. You don’t have what it takes to become a teacher. You lack consistency”. Now, you can look at that same piece of paper, as well as the work I am putting in now to get in front of the classroom, me becoming a peer leader at City Tech, me becoming a group leader in an after school program at PS 219, putting in applications for teacher’s assistant jobs, doing everything necessary to get my foot in the door because this is what I want to do and then say, “You can do this”. I am not studying to become a teacher for glory. I want to do this so that I can help change a child’s mind and remove the words “cannot” and “impossible” from their vocabulary. My students will know that no matter how hard I am on them, I care a great deal about them and their future. I am not there to be their friend, but I will be by their side if they need me to be. That’s why I want to be a teacher. I love what I do and want to share that love with the world.

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