What’s your story?

What brought you to the teaching profession? In my 20+ years in education, I have heard various responses to this question. Many of them include a number of influencing factors on deciding to become an educator. Whatever the reasons are, I invariably/consistently hear one commonality again and again as teachers share their individual stories: Some teacher along the way substantially impacted them in some way, and this somehow influenced their decision to enter this profession.

For me, it was a combination of experiences, though my high school English teacher unknowingly set the frame of what became the foundation of my own journey.

When I was in high school 25 years ago, most of my teachers lectured with the expectation that I’d listen, take notes, and learn. Much of the assessments consisted of traditional pen and paper tests where I regurgitated the passive information I had absorbed. My English teacher, however, framed his classes differently. They mostly consisted of an interactive, Socratic-seminar structure. It was my favorite class, in part because I already loved reading and writing, but also because every day became an interactive and engaging adventure through literature. My years as his student opened my mind to a new way of thinking – to question, read actively, make connections across texts, and add to class dialogue (though admittedly, I was – and still am- a relatively quiet student).

So, please think back to a moment that may have forever changed your learning perspective. What’s your story, and how has it impacted your journey to teaching?