Photo by MChe Lee / Unsplash

The pursuit of becoming a teacher

Nearing the final days of high school, questioning ‘what’s next?’ feels scary for some, but not me. I’m getting more and more excited to continue my education journey, this time, as a teacher.

The impending question of ‘What do you want to be when you're older?’ never frightened me. In fact, I would probably answer you with a 5 year plan on where I want to go to uni, what degree I aim to undertake, the major and minor subjects I’d be studying, and the long list of clubs I couldn’t wait to join. No matter what I was interested in, I was guaranteed to know what I was doing in the future.

With the HSC looming in the back of many year twelve students' minds, and early entry schemes beginning to open for my year group, the question has never felt more impactful. For me, 'what do you want to be when you’re older?’ This question is comforting. It provides a sense of direction, and purpose as the final days of high school slowly come to an end.

When I reflect on my schooling journey, it was fuelled by my love of education. My family (many are teachers) consistently taught me the power of education, and reading about people like Malala Yousafzai’s incredible bravery that demonstrates her eagerness to learn rebounded through me.

My reports always described me as a ‘pleasure to teach’, and never once did I dislike the concept of coming to school each day and learning. I loved the curiosity of classrooms, from literacy groups, to spelling tests, it was an environment where I was able to express myself freely, letting my imagination and fascination of the world around me thrive. Even just the mere thought of sitting on a small, plastic chair, writing and reading all day engrossed me.

At home, I had growing mountains of books hiding the floor of my bedroom, and debating competitions filling the gaps in my calendar. I was so in love with learning that up until I was 11 years old, I would spend my childhood weekends putting on my teacher hat and creating lesson plans, roll calls, and self-curated worksheets, all for the great company of my class, teddy bears and my 9 year old sister. 

When I began my high school journey as a bubbly Year Seven student, so enthused by the new ways of learning, I didn’t think I could love anything more than school. But then, I developed an appetite for the news. My Nan has always been the one person to tell you the latest headlines before you say good morning, and our dinner table conversations were always debates about the top stories.

Soon enough, I was recommending articles to my high school teachers, and breaking down the many sides of a headline, before they had even heard the story. At times, through the eyes of others, my ravenous hunger for current affairs was peculiar, and contradicted the regular conversations of 17 year olds. I was never interested in partying, I wanted to fuel myself by immersing myself in the world of current affairs and literature. Intrigued by the art of storytelling, I started to respond to the million dollar ‘what do you want to be when you’re older’ question with, ‘I’m going to be a journalist.’ 

But my enthusiasm and sheer passion for learning prevailed. When Year Ten Work Experience rolled around, I emailed my local public school. One week of experiencing my childhood dream of teaching tiny humans, suddenly came to life, significantly altering my career path. 

As soon as I entered the golden gates of my local primary school, something changed. Immediately, this was the place I knew I was accepted. I didn’t need to change any part of myself, or hide certain parts of my personality that blossomed with the joys of learning.

The classrooms created incandescent glows from the innocent young minds of our future, their conversations reflected the same excitement I felt during my primary school years, and the walls reflected their curiosity through artworks, as I received the warmest ‘Gooood mooorning Miissss Avaaa!’ For the first time, I was accepted for who I was. My fondness to learn, and analyse our world, was not seen as an anomaly, or something that made me stand out, but rather something that made me feel included. My enthusiastic admiration for learning more and more was validated as my super power, not something I should change. At the conclusion of work experience, my mum asked me the inquiring question, ‘What do you want to be when you're older?’ and I now responded with a definitive response of, “A teacher.” 

I believe teaching is an art, not a job. I also believe that I am able to merge my two interests - journalism and education, because being a teacher means I have the utmost privilege to give young people a positive role model, support them through their own education journeys, and share my media literacy skills and fascination with others. I have the opportunity to support tiny minds to become critical thinkers, and teach the importance of media discernment, guiding our future to becoming respectful, active citizens of our society. In todays’ climate, this remains more vital than ever. 

As I near my final days of my own school experience, I can see how these formative years have shaped me into the person I am today. From walking through the gates, wearing the shiniest school shoes, and the stiffest, wide brimmed hat, to navigating the new world of leadership teams, and using the sacred 40 minute lunchtimes to read as many news stories as possible, I am so grateful that my high school experiences have given me the strength, and confidence to grow into an emotionally and socially intelligent young woman.

I have been taught and continue to be taught by extraordinary storytellers that have given me the space to grow, and develop my voice. Many of my teachers, whom I have had the privilege to be taught under, especially during the final years, never stopped believing in me and my potential, consistently encouraging me to stay true to myself and fuel my final assessment tasks with my overflowing passion for current affairs. 

To this day, I have continued to share my knowledge, and admiration towards learning, by creating my own tutoring business for primary school students living in my neighbourhood. I am so grateful to have met the most wonderful families, each week teach me the importance of listening, and remind me of the joyful processes of learning. I am using my voice to change, to teach, and to inform our future generations through education systems. As per the age old quote, when I graduate I will never work a day in my life because my work will be overflowing with so much joy, and loving what you do is the most important thing, regardless of the title.