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Why I Choose to Teach

Teaching isn't for everyone, but it's something that I choose to do. Here are the reasons I choose to teach, and what I think makes a great teacher.
"Why I Choose to Teach" - by Mel Telford

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Why I Choose to Teach

Okay, I totally get it that teaching is definitely not for everyone. But can’t that be said about pretty much any profession? Underwater welding is definitely not for me. Neither is accounting (tried that one), architecture, or car sales. Instead, I choose to teach! So why are people so surprised when I tell them that I am studying education?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Wow! You’re crazy! But good for you!” when I tell people that I am studying elementary education. But I just don’t understand why people are always so shocked when they hear that someone is, or wants to be, a teacher.

Why I Choose to Teach - by Mel Telford

So, I figured that I better set the record straight and explain why you shouldn’t be surprised that I want to be a teacher. I’m going to tell you the reasons why I am choosing this career (and it’s not just for summers off), as well as what I think it means to be a great teacher and a part of today’s education system.

I have spent 2/3 of my life in a classroom.

Learning is my jam! I have always been extremely curious (just ask my dad!) I’ve always wanted to know why things are the way they are, how they work, and what I can do to change things for the better. I have an imagination that loves to run wild; many would call me a dreamer. And that is a total compliment! After taking a couple of years to figure things out after high school I went to university for business and accounting. When I didn’t enjoy that, I switched degrees, started from scratch, and have been working towards becoming a teacher ever since. Besides a year off for medical reasons and a year of maternity leave after completing my first degree, I have been in school either part-time or full-time. Twenty years in total! The classroom has always been my home away from home.

Check out my post “From Aspirations to Achievement: How I Had My Best Academic Year Yet!” to see how much I’m loving being in the education program at TRU!

Even as a little girl I would always pretend to be the teacher when my siblings and I played school with our friends.

My parents even went out and got me a full-size chalkboard, two old-fashioned school desks, and a box of photocopied worksheets they had found at the recycling depot. I wanted to play school so much that it wasn’t long before my playmates were asking to play anything but school!. And sometimes I would even make them play anyways.

I come from a family of teachers.

And I married into a family of teachers. I don’t think I have enough fingers (maybe even toes) to count all of the teachers and administrators that we have in the past four generations. And my mother-in-law is still teaching (and one of my biggest inspirations and resources). These amazing people who have taught before me are an important reason why I choose to teach. I truly believe that some people are born to teach. In whatever capacity that may be. It might be in a school, or homeschooling your own kids, or any other position where you facilitate the education of others. (Girl Guides of Canada put me through a great Wilderness First Aid course one time and I could tell right away that the instructor had the magic teacher stuff that I’m talking about.)

The experiences I have had in school have been negative…

A facebook message from a former teacher. "You were the little 5 year old blond kid with the chatty mouth full of life and opinions..."
A message on Facebook from a former teacher.

Although I have always loved learning, there have been times when I truly hated school. And there was even a time when I gave up on school. That’s right! Mrs. Mum was a high-school dropout. By the beginning of my final year of high school I was dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. And I let it get the better of me. I stopped going to school and moved out of my parent’s house (and hundreds of kilometres away). I did end up going back to school, taking extra courses and gaining extra credit, and graduating on time. At my third high-school, where I only spent one semester.

And positive!

One of the biggest compliments that I have gotten along this journey was from my recent practicum teacher mentor. She told me that I was a risk-taker, and that was something she loved about me. Each time we would go over my lesson plans, she would point out all of the problem areas and things that could go wrong. Although I took her advice seriously, I barely change my lessons. I stuck to the crazy ideas that I had come up with and instead I prepared for all of the things that could go wrong.

I took big risks, I taught outside of the box (and the classroom), and I gave the students the freedom to learn, and play, and find ways to connect deeper with the content. The looks of joy and understanding on my student’s faces are why I choose to teach and to take risks in education.

My grade 5 class.
My AMAZING grade 5 class!

Check out my post “What I learned in Grade 5 (as a Teacher!)” to read about my most recent practicum.

And it totally paid off!

So, now that you know a little bit more about why I choose to teach, let me tell you what I think it means to be a good teacher. The kind of teacher that you can send your kids with for 6 hours a day and know that they are in a place where they can learn and be loved.

What you will find below is my teaching statement. This is my philosophy as a teacher and my commitment to educating young people.
Why I Choose to Teach - Teaching isn't for everyone, but it's something that I choose to do. Here are the reasons I choose to teach, and what I think makes a great teacher.

My Teaching Statement:

I believe that education is something that should be more than just accessible to everyone, it should also be attainable for anyone, no matter what their race, creed, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability may be. Learning can occur in many ways and should be measured by a progression of understanding and not merely content retention. Education takes place in many ways, and in many places, including but absolutely not limited to the classroom. Education continues beyond the walls or the grades of a school; it is the experiences in and out of schools and schooling that together form meaning, values, and expressions of who we become as adults and life-long learners.

            As a teacher, my purpose is to guide learning and the love of knowledge and understanding. I aim to present learning opportunities that engage students and create a sense of connectedness between the students, their communities, and the world around them. I aspire to give my students the confidence to succeed in life and to find their strengths and embrace their differences. I provide my students with a learning environment in which they educate one another, and learn collaboratively. I accept that not all of my students have the same access to educational opportunities outside of the classroom, but I will not let that limit their potential within my classroom and beyond. I support all learning styles and abilities and give all students an opportunity to help design their own learning and education. I strive to teach my students patience, respect, responsibility, and organization by modelling these behaviours for them. My biggest hope in teaching is to inspire my students with the love of lifelong learning that my teachers, friends, and family have inspired in me.

Mrs. Mel Telford
Mrs Mum Signature

Are you an educator? Was there a moment that you knew that this was what you were meant to do? Tell me about it in the comments!

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  • Faith & Nat

    This is such an awesome post! Both of us are studying to become teachers in a few years and this is so relatable. A lot of people are always surprised when I tell them that I want to become a teacher (especially when I throw in that my goal is to be a middle school teacher). They always ask me why and I have no other answer besides the fact that I just love it! I really enjoyed reading your post!

    • MrsMum

      It makes me so happy to hear that Iโ€™m not the only one!! Have you always known you wanted to teach? Or did you figure it out later in life?

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