When I was 12, my parents told me that my seven-year-old brother Brent was falling behind in school. They knew I enjoyed helping him with his homework, so they asked me if I could take on the responsibility of tutoring him during the summer. Brent needed help with reading and writing, and as I have always been passionate about both, I jumped at the task. I turned my room into a mini classroom, with a desk for Brent and a whiteboard easel. I made vocabulary flashcards and fun writing activities, and I picked out books to read with him. Although Brent was reluctant at first, eventually he had as much fun as I did. Sometimes he became frustrated when reading, but I kept encouraging him, telling him that he was doing great. After working with him over a few weeks, I noticed that Brent was becoming independent, reading and writing sentences without asking me how to spell or pronounce a word. One day, I saw Brent on the living room couch reading a book aloud on his own. I smiled at him, so proud of how much progress he made. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.
At first, I thought I would teach elementary school because I loved working with Brent, and I understood the importance of helping kids learn in their early years. However, during high school, I realized that older students need just as much encouragement and as many engaging activities as elementary kids. I noticed that many of my high school teachers gave up on unmotivated students too easily, thinking that it is too late for them to develop motivation and a love for learning. I disagree; I think all students, young or old, simply need someone who believes in them for them to succeed. I felt compelled to be the high school teacher so many of my peers were lacking: a teacher who gives every student a chance and finds a way for every student to learn, without ever doubting anyone’s potential.
By the time I applied to college, choosing a major was simple. I was set on teaching high school, and because I always enjoyed helping Brent with reading and writing, I decided to major in English Secondary Education. Now I’m entering my third year of college, and I’m committed to becoming a high school English teacher. I was recently accepted into the College of Education at my university, which means that soon I will be student teaching and managing a classroom by myself. Two years from now, when I graduate, my diploma will not just represent my success in college; it will be my key to my classroom, where I will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on every one of my students. Although teaching will never be easy, I will do everything in my power to show my students I believe in them and encourage them to learn and succeed.
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