I have been working with children since I was a teen (17). When I was in high school, teacher’s aide and office aide were electives. I was Mrs. Cabil’s Kindergarten aide and she was an amazing teacher. I LOVED working with her students who are adults now. WOW. There was one girl in particular who gravitated to me and vice versa. She was a BEAUTIFUL Arabic girl. She was also shy and didn’t speak much, but we loved one another. I have never forgotten the moment Mrs. Cabil looked at me and said, “You should really be a teacher. You are good at this.” From that moment on, my goal in life was to be an educator.
I don’t think Mrs. Cabil knows how much her encouragement and example shaped me. She was a no nonsense teacher who had the love and respect from all students and adults. She was firm, yet gentle; caring, yet demanding; sweet, yet tough. When you were around her, you WANTED to be your best self because you knew that’s what she demanded from you. I don’t know where she is today, but I know I owe her for being the inspiring educator in my life who saw something in me, far beyond what I imgined within myself.
None of us become a success without the nuturing, love, and support from family and friends. One thing I have learned is that failures and stumbling blocks (enemies, frienemies, sickness, job losses, etc) also shape us into who we are. Life isn’t meant to be easy and within life will be countless disappointments, which brings me to the reasons why I became a teacher. It’s not easy, but it is so rewarding.
I became a teacher because I want children to know that they are loved by an adult who believes in their ability to succeed in life depite the insurmountable odds they are bound to face.
I became a teacher because when I was growing up, many teachers didn’t believe in my ability to be SOMEBODY. They showed me by their actions and words that because I was the from a single-parent home (shoutout to my remarkable mother, Doris Sewell, who raised 4 women alone) that I would be a statistic (uneducated, single teen mom). I NEVER want a child to feel that their circumstances determine their future.
I became a teacher because while in elementary and high school, I had teachers who had no excitement about being in my presence. Teaching seemed like a job to them. I aways wanted children to feel at home in my presence, safe, and like I choose them (in many cases, I did) to be in my class. Once you were in my class, we’re family. I took pride in building relationships with my students and their families because that is so much more important to me. Teaching is my JOY, not just my job.
I became a teacher because children are seeds who grow from what they see, hear, and do. My goal was and is always to model being who I want them to be, saying positive and encouraging words to them, and challenging them to think and dream beyond their wildest dreams. I strive to be one of the people in their lives who instills the significance of hard work and perserverance.
I became a teacher because I am convinced it is my purpose in life. There were days when I wanted to change my major and quit, but he didn’t see fit to let me complete those tasks. For that, I am grateful.
I am no longer a classroom teacher. I am now an Instructional Technology Coach, a path I never expected to take. But, one that has taken me from one set of students a year to thousands within the 13 schools I serve. I get to bring my passion and love for children outside the walls of one classroom to more than I could have dreamed of. Don’t get me wrong, 13 schools is a lot. I don’t get to work with half the teachers or children I wish to, but the joy I feel being able to reach not only children, but teachers brings me joy.
Fifteen years ago, Mrs. Cabil saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. She gave me a path to take and I have been walking blissfully on that path every since.
Thank you, Mrs. Cabil for being the teacher in my life I needed to set my soul afire.