When I was student teaching I came to a brutal reality - teaching sucks. It sucks bad. Like crazy bad. It was a pretty depressing reality to come to. I had just spent 4 years of my life and thousands of dollars with one plan.... to be a teacher.
Now let me explain back then why I realized teaching sucks. (If I was going to make the list today it would be much longer and detailed but we'll keep this list to what I figured out then) Students are tough. They just want to be entertained. The harder you work, the more effort you put in to creating lessons, activities, and assignments to really help them learn, the more they complain. The more they hate you. The more they hate your class. Learning is hard work. Bottom line. So if you want kids to actually learn and grow you have to expect and prepare for major kick back from them.
So there I was depressed about teaching. Realizing how wrongly I had chosen. I didn't want to be a teacher.
And a flicker of light came into my life. I was the Relief Society President in my student ward. And one day my bishop's wife came up to me and said, "Kristin, I am so impressed with you. I have seen what you have done with this ward and calling and I can tell you are a woman of power. I have an insurance agency. I would like to offer you a job to come work for me. You will start as just a receptionist but with time you will learn the business and I figure within 2-3 years you will have learned everything there is to know about our company and you will be able to start your own branch of our insurance agency." It was such a huge compliment. And best of all - it was a way out of teaching!
I was so excited I started working almost immediately. It was a fun and exciting career with so much potential for growth. And the best part - the harder I worked, unlike teaching, the more grateful people were and the more successful my experience was.
But I needed to still finish student teaching so I could graduate with my degree. So I kept teaching, kept trucking along. Until one fateful night. I was grading essaying and decided to watch the season finale of American Idol. It was the year that Carry Underwood won. But I don't really remember her. I don't remember the songs or the other competitors. All I remember was one stupid sentence said by Ryan Secrist that change the course of my life forever, "Last night 36 million people voted for your next American Idol. That is more people than voted for the last president of the United States."
Yes. More people voted for a girl to get a record deal than the next most powerful person in the entire world.
I was absolutely sick. What is this world coming to? Seriously?
How in the world is our nation going to survive when more people care about entertainment than their rights and freedom??????
I knew what I needed to do. The thing I didn't want to do more than anything. But it was like right then and there I knew I had a mission in life and making loads of money with an insurance agency wasn't it.
I wish I had the conversation recorded when I called my insurance agent mentor, "I'm so sorry Sheri, (sob) I really appreciate what you've seen in me and what you have offered but I have to be a..... be a.... (sob) teacher."
That fall I started my career as a teacher.
(At this point in the class period I start talking about government philosophy and we discuss why learning about government is so important.)
Sometimes I give this mini heart to heart, sometimes I don't. It hurts my heart a little bit sometimes, still 10 years later, I regret my decision to not choose a different path. Sometimes I still wonder what it would have been like to be an insurance agent instead of a teacher......
But then like so many other times before I got a letter yesterday from one of the students that I worked with the most, worried about the most, and worked harder for than most to help influence him.