Men and women in college level teacher preparation programs,
in addition to about a hundred other things they are required to do, almost
without exception have to write a statement that describes why they want to be teachers. Some colleges call this the "why I chose teaching as a career" statement. Regardless of what it's called, the statement is really about the student's ability to describe the reasons for his or her choice, and sometimes, that's not an easy thing to do.
In many colleges and schools of education, this statement is included with the application for student teaching.
In my role as adviser, I have read and edited many hundreds of such statements.
It is obvious that education students sometime struggle to explain themselves
and their choices, and often compose awkward statements they believe are what the readers want.
It can be stressful and frustrating.
The statement below contains grammatically correct, substantive information that conveys, in a generic sense, what many education students try to express. If appropriate, use it for your own purposes, making the personal modifications you believe are necessary.
I used the pronoun "he" in the statement only as a device. The use of "he" is certainly not meant to diminish women who might use the statement, but only to avoid awkward he/she verbiage.
Please substitute the feminine pronoun "she" as appropriate. Notice that nowhere in the statement below does it say education was chosen as a career because of "loving kids." The reason? That is one of the most overworked, and increasingly meaningless phrases in the profession.
Dr. Bob Kizlik
Why I Chose Teaching as a Career
When one makes a decision about the work he will do in life, it is
important that the decision be based on criteria that reflect his personal
values, temperaments, experiences, and skills. My choice of teaching as a career
was not made lightly; rather, it was the culmination of a process of reflection
about what I wanted to do with my life and my education.
When I was a student in elementary, middle, and high school, as well as in college, I found myself paying attention to not only what was being taught, but also to
my teachers actually taught the lessons. It seemed to me then, and still does, that most of my teachers enjoyed what they were doing. Too young, and with no real context as an elementary school student to appreciate what my teachers personally derived from what they were doing, it wasn't until middle school that I began to think that I might want to be a teacher. Slowly at first, then more quickly, and with increasing clarity and depth, I began to visualize myself as a teacher.
The great teachers I have had throughout my education are my heroes and my role models. I began to understand more fully in high school and throughout my time as a college student that great teachers had skills I wanted to learn. I wanted to excel at the things in which they excelled, but I also experienced teachers who were not effective, and they too taught me something. From them I learned what I would not do or even try when I would someday become a teacher.
I fully realized that to be a teacher is truly a calling of not just the mind, but the heart as well.
I saw that the great teachers were good at explaining
content, were patient, yet firm with students, were always fair, set high
expectations, knew how to motivate us, and used humor appropriately. They were
excellent communicators who had a command of the subject-matter content they
taught. I wanted to be like them, to be able to do what they could do, and yet I
understood that I would have to forge my own style of teaching that would draw
on my strengths, knowledge, skills, values and experiences. I have arrived at
that point in my preparation, fully realizing I still have much to learn.
I have chosen education as a career because I believe
that education is perhaps the most important function performed in our culture,
or for that matter, any culture. I believe that teachers individually and
collectively can not only change the world, but improve it, and in the process
find personal and professional renewal. I want to be part of this noble
profession, and someday to be counted among those in whom future preservice
teachers found inspiration.
"Anything not understood in more than one way is
not understood at all."