Call me Ms. Pfeiffer

When did you know it’s what you wanted to do?
I’m not sure.

Uno, you’re not saying it. Say unooo When I was young, everyone had to learn. My brothers were forced to learn Spanish, my friends were forced to write music, everyone was forced to play student. Sure, I was a bossy pants, but it was all in good spirit- I loved teaching.

In college I quickly to recognized the cost of books- unreasonable. my options were fairly simple- either I wasn’t going to read them and create a dependent relationship with google and be the only person in a 500 person class actually listening, I could buy the books and feel exploited by the man, or I could manipulate those around me into letting me use their books. I chose all three, but my favorite was the latter.

Can I borrow your textbook? I will create an outline of the chapter and then tutor you before the test! This worked. And it was a win-win for me… Someone was going to let me teach them. And this is around the time that I began to realize that I could help people understand challenging material in a simplified way. It was the first time in my life I felt true ownership over something and I knew it was my “calling” (so cheesy and cliche, I know)

I know what I’ll do, because I have this passion– I would say this in a confident, knowing voice, as I stared aimlessly into the distance. I’m going to teach the underprivileged youth. I thought I was Michelle Pfeiffer from Dangerous Games.

But I had a goal, and a dream, and I wanted to feel fulfilled. So I applied for Teach for America. And I worked very hard to get into the program- I took my nose ring out for the interview, knowing it would close up, just because I wanted to be professional. Spoiler alert, my interviewer had her nose pierced. But I digress. After months of anxiety, testing, essays, a demo lesson… I didn’t get it. And this awful situation, which was a blessing in disguise, changed my life.

There is a silver lining in everything folks. *And it’s not just because TFA is an awful program that puts young, inexperienced teachers in the most challenging places in the United States. Which for many of them, kills their drive to teach.

It was the first time that I did not allow failure to shut me down. I embraced it as a challenge. If you want something enough, a roadblock does not hinder your progress. I wanted to kick that roadblock down, and then teach it a lesson! Pun intended. From that point forward I worked my tail off. I read. I wrote. I painted for an art class that I took for no reason at all except that I thought it would help relieve my stress. It caused more. And I applied for graduate school. And I got in.

Fast forward and here I am. I am not teaching in the inner city like Michelle Pfeiffer, but I hope in some way I am changing even one life. I was always being shaped by my educators who both inspired me, and made me despise coming to school all at the same time. Teachers were the heroes and villains of my childhood. Also, I myself am a constant student, and I love education and learning. I love teaching. When you find a career that is more than a job, it is a lifestyle choice, it makes you excited to go to work and you have found a gem. And when you spend what seems like more time with your coworkers than your family, you better love your job. And maybe one day you too can be someone’s hero, or villain.

What do you do for a living?! Why did you start?