As a typical college student, the first question I get is “do you like it?” In my head I’m all: Duh. College is the best place on the planet. In what universe would I not LOVE it?? But out loud it sounds more like: Yes! College is great and I’m really enjoying it. The next question is “What is your major?” Now this one is a little more complicated. My major is special education and I usually get one of three responses:
- Oh! My grandma did that!
- Yikes. You must be nuts…
- Cool! Why special ed?
Why Special Ed? Because I’m smart! When I was little I always thought that if I chose to be a teacher instead of something more study-intensive, like a doctor or mechanical engineer, I would be wasting my talents. When I shared this concern with my mom, she totally changed my mind. She explained that the best and brightest teachers should be instructing special education classes. Those kids need specialized attention, lessons taught in a million different ways and all of that has to happen while you’re trying to advance both life skills and basic curriculum. It takes someone smart to make that all happen successfully.
I attribute much of my passion for teaching and special education to my mother. She was a special educator for several years and now serves the department by provided achievement testing as a process coordinator. I grew up in that realm. I am familiar with several disabilities, the lingo used and some of the ways to approach those kinds of students. I like to say that I have a “specialized patience”; I have almost no tolerance for those who are capable, but chose to be lazy, and when it comes to special education students, my outlook is totally different.
Now, at the end of my freshman year, I have no doubts about my future as a teacher. I’m itching to get into my own classroom, working with my own students to become successful people. The moral of this story is not to doubt your passions. You have to do what makes you happy instead of what you feel like others are pushing you towards. It’s safe to say that yes, I could be doctor, but I sure do not want to be and that would not make me a happy person.