Why I became a teacher

<strong>Why did I choose teaching? </strong>
I have always wanted to be a teacher. My first teacher, Thabile Verseput   was the kindest, softest and prettiest teacher. She took interest in each one of us as individuals and not just as a class. It was from my first day with her that I went home and played “teacher teacher” with my dolls.

Throughout my own school career I had teachers who inspired and simply cared for me — I knew one day I wanted to make the same impact. There have never been any other options for me. Being a teacher was all I wanted to be when I grew up.

<strong>Did you think you would become a teacher when you were in grade one? </strong>
In my own child imagination, I was a teacher in grade one. We had a wendy house which my folks converted into a classroom with my very own chalkboard. I was always given stamps and stickers for birthdays and would mark my mom’s old magazines. I spent most afternoons talking away to my dolls, teaching them what I had learnt that day.

<strong>When did it strike you that you would become a teacher? </strong>
It was when we had all the career talk in grade 11 and 12 that I knew I was to become a teacher. We had so many guest speakers and various displays promoting the general careers such as accounting, lawyers, engineers, doctors — but none of them ever appealed to me. The only thing I wanted to do was teach. No matter how much I was told I’d never earn a lot of money. It was never about the money to me. My ambition was in making a difference in children’s lives, not in my own financial life.

<strong>Why do you think teaching is a cool profession? </strong>
As a teacher you are always cool in your learners’ eyes. That is enough job satisfaction for me. Teachers mould and create the future. How can that NOT be cool?

<strong>How did you know you wanted to become a teacher? </strong>
I just knew that I wanted to become a teacher. I could not picture myself doing anything else. In grade 11 we did job shadowing and I went to shadow my aunt who taught grade 7. I loved it! To see how the learners responded to her and enjoyed school; I knew that is what I wanted to do.

<strong>What studies did you take on to become a teacher? </strong>
I did a BA in English and history at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I did my post graduate certificate in education (PGCE) – Intermediate Phase at Tukkies, Groenkloof Campus.

<strong>What does the future hold for you as a young teacher? Do you see yourself in this profession for longer? </strong>
I see myself as a teacher forever. However, after three years of teaching I decided to try something different. Teaching was hard work, emotionally, physically and mentally.

I thought sitting in an office at a desk would be far more exciting and definitely less stressful. I was wrong.  I was back in the classroom after a few months. I missed the kids, the connections you make with colleagues. I missed the smiles on my learners’ faces when they learnt something new. I missed seeing my learners develop from year to year. I missed the funny things that the learners would say. I missed thinking of different ways I could teach something so that all the learners would learn something new.

I missed the thank yous and appreciation from the kids. I missed making a difference in someone’s life. I’m now teaching grade one at Vuleka Primary School and my life is full again. I’ve got my spirit and joy for life back because everyday I am making a difference in someone’s life.  Teaching is not a job; it is a passion, commitment and an absolute gift every day.
<em>Kate Wilson is a grade one third year student trainee teacher at Vuleka Primary School in Rosebank, north of Johannesburg.</em>t

Originally published in: The Teacher

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