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The Eclectic Pen - Why I Teach

By: Melody H.  
Date Submitted: 5/10/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » General
Words: 740

  This was written as a personnel narrative. I am happy to hear all comments-good and bad. Suggestions for improvement are always welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Melody

I have always wanted to be a teacher. Some of my earliest memories are of trying to force my brother and sisters to play school. I, of course, was the teacher, determined that they should actually turn-in the mounds of homework I assigned. Influenced by my Catholic school education, I also carried a ruler, and was quick to use it on the knuckles of my siblings. Needless to say, they didn't often want to play with me.
I have always wanted to be a teacher. If this is true, why did I wait until I was 40 to become one? What alternate paths did I choose that took me so far from this goal?
I joined the Army when I was 19, more from the desire to get away from home than from any sense of patriotism. Moving from the controlled environment and uniforms of a Catholic school to the controlled environment and uniforms of the Army was a comfortable transition for me. I had found my niche in life.
I was promoted quickly and given jobs with increased responsibility. Because I was a good worker and could be counted on, I was often left alone to complete my task. It was then I discovered a talent for devising more time and cost efficient methods for doing things. I was often sent to other organizations to reorganize them and teach personnel how to operate new systems.
I met and fell in love with the man I would marry while we were both stationed in Korea. He was a member of the British Army and I was assigned as a part of the US contingency to the United Nations Command in Seoul, Korea. We decided that he would leave the Army and I would continue with my career.
We spent the next 17 years travelling the world together and raising 3 children. I atended college at night rather sporadically during those years, one or two classes at a time, as deployments and committments allowed. I majored first in criminology, and then changed to art. I taught various art classes at local stores where ever we were stationed.
In 1994 I retired from the Army after 20 years of service. We moved to Missouri-where I continued with my education. In one of the classes I was taking, we were required to teach a 2 hour class. Mine was on ethics. When I finished my professor looked at me and said, "Wow, Melody, you should be a teacher!" And in that moment I remembered- I have always wanted to be a teacher! I changed my major the next day, and within a year was teaching language arts in a middle school.
Earlier I wondered what alternate path I had chosen that took me away from teaching. I realize now I never left that path.
I have taught soldiers how to do their jobs, that their committment to their country should be the driving force behind their daily lives, that they are heroes every day of those lives.
I have taught adults all over the world to express themselves thru creativity. I taught the man I love to be a husband I could live with. I taught my children to be kind, self-sufficient members of society, to be responsible for their own actions, to accept consequences without whining.
In addition to teaching curriculum in the middle school, I also teach by example. I cry when I hear taps, I get excited when a child suceeds. I get angry at injustice and speak out against bigotry. I have taught them that right is always right-not just when someone is watching, that your work ethic and product speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. I let them know that my faith in God and my family are the two most important things in my life.
I realize now that my statement should not have been that I have always wanted to be a teacher-but that I have always been a teacher.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Melody H.

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Comments 1 to 8 of 8
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 5/10/2007 6:01 PM ET
I really like this. My mother was a teacher in a one room school until she had kids then she went back to school at 50 got her degree and taught middle school for 10 years. She always wanted me a teacher but I didn't like school. I am the trainer on my though. There are alot of ways to be a teacher.
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 5/10/2007 6:02 PM ET
I met to say I am a trainer on my job.
Pam F. - 5/11/2007 12:43 PM ET
I especially liked the last sentence. :)
Kristen D. - 5/12/2007 12:59 PM ET
It's teachers like yourself that I TRULY believe are part of a dying race of 'good teachers.' My mom is a teacher and a trainer and she, just like yourself, has ALWAYS been a teacher in EVERY aspect of life... I salute!!!
Sandra (mycatscanread) - - 5/12/2007 7:20 PM ET
Your last sentence said it all. As I was reading I kept thinking, 'But you ARE a teacher!' Very nice!
K J. (dappledart) - 5/12/2007 11:23 PM ET
I enjoyed your story very much. I like the repetition of the theme "I have always wanted to be a teacher" leading up to your conclusion. Nice job.
Brandy M. (jimaneye) - 5/26/2007 9:08 PM ET
God bless you. I have taught 8th grade math and coached 7th & 8th grade girls athletics. It can be a very tough age to teach and I know from experience, it takes a very special person. I am now the teacher of my 6 month old son (and I'm a private tutor on the side) but I do not think I will ever return to teaching middle school.
Fran M. (franny) - 6/3/2007 7:49 AM ET
I enjoyed reading this...I, too, always wanted to be a teacher and my story is so similar to yours. At the ripe old age of 43, with the support of husband, son and two daughters, I sold my bookstore and entered college. I did not get to be homecoming queen, but my dream came true. Today at 57, I am a middle school literature teacher, coach the Power of the Pen writing team, and have a masters in special education. This summer I'm going to embark on my Natioanl Board certification. My husband wants me to write a best seller so we can retire wealthy and travel the world. He IS a dreamer....
Comments 1 to 8 of 8