Back to the Classroom: Becoming a teacher and what inspired me to take the road less traveled
Abstract: Growing up is hard to do, but once you find your passion there is no stopping you from jumping into the void and taking on something new. As I continue here in Germany, I hope my path will take me to places I never expected to go!
Journal: Throughout my studies in high school and college, I never really thought I would want to become a teacher. It wasn’t until my last year of college that I realized I loved teaching and especially loved teaching English to second-language learners. When I saw that my ambitions had changed, I thought back to all the positive teaching role-models in my life and how their interest in global relationships shaped me.
In high school, we had an exchange program with a school in China. I was lucky enough to go to China in 2007 with that program. We did a lot of fundraising, so it was very inexpensive. The experience, however, was priceless. The teacher who managed that program was an inspiration for me to bring the same thing to other schools one day. Through that opportunity, I got to see a part of the world that I may have never seen otherwise. I want to enable other young students to do the same thing!
I was even going to go back to China four years later and teach abroad, but I realized my talents could be better put to use if I went back to Germany. I speak the language and know the culture a bit better. When I moved to Germany, it was a big step and I wasn’t sure what would come next. I always thought that I could come home if I didn’t like it, but I really wanted to make it work!
I was able to find a job and take language classes in the meantime to keep my German skills sharp, but what I really wanted to do was improve my teaching skills. I applied for a Fulbright Grant to work as a language assistant in Germany, and when I found out that I was accepted, I was ecstatic! The scholarship is the chance for me to make connections between students in the U.S. and Germany. Working with the students at the Regine-Hildebrandt school has been a joy and a privilege. It’s great to have so many minds that are curious about the United States and the entire world.
My advice to you would be to take advantage of any opportunity to travel or meet people from other countries. There is so much to be learned from exchange students at your school or an excursion abroad. You guys have already taken the first step by learning about Germany and German history, so you’re on the right path!
I had always believed that I would stay in Minnesota and live a quieter life than the one I’m living now, but I wouldn’t trade my present life for the world. It will be hard at times to step out of your comfort zone. At times, you may be made fun of for your language skills. At other times, may be so home sick you will wonder why you live so far away. Then there are those times of complete satisfaction and joy, where you feel like you are making a difference and living life courageously! That is worth the trouble of traveling abroad and taking chances, and it drives me to keep on my path to becoming a teacher. What will your path be? Only time will tell, and I didn’t figure it out until I graduated college! However, doing something small towards your goals each day will ensure that when the time comes to find your passion, you’ll be prepared to do anything you like.