There are many reasons people decide to enter the teaching field. Some enter because they enjoy working with people or children, others because they like being off during the summer months, and still others because of their love for a particular subject. Although all these reasons are valid, I feel my reasons are much simpler. The bottom line is that I love kids and enjoy working with them. My desire to make learning a more positive experience for them has only increased with time.

I knew very early in life that I enjoyed working with children; I am drawn to their eagerness to learn, their trusting nature, and their inquisitive minds. It has always been a joy for me to be around children, who are eager to learn. Children are thrilled when an adult takes time to read to them. After hearing a story only a couple of times, they are like a tape recorder set on replay. Their thirst for knowledge is overwhelming. At the elementary level, children also tend to have a very trusting nature. They rely heavily on their elders for guidance. Most children are very honest with their feelings and don't try to hide them. This is a crucial time in a child's life; it is a time when teachers and parents should be molding them for the future. It seems their minds are always working on something which makes them extremely inquisitive. Their curiosities seem never to be satisfied. Children are always asking "why?" even when they know the answer. The inquisitive child wants to know the how's, when's, and where's of everything.

Because of my early interest in children, I developed a strong desire to teach; consequently, I sought out jobs that allowed me varied experiences with children. My first experience was baby-sitting. Here I quickly learned that children must be told precisely what to do. For example, "Go wash your hands with soap and dry them right now." Or, "You must take your shoes off and then you may get into the bathtub." From the many baby-sitting jobs I had, I soon discovered that if I did not have a plan the day would be total chaos. As early as thirteen I became familiar with the need for structure and creativity when dealing with younger children and found myself loving every minute of it. The challenge of actually teaching came when I volunteered to assist a teacher at our church with a room full of second graders. They were extremely demanding as they all wanted to talk at the same time and everyone wanted to be a helper. Some of the children could write, draw, and even sing while others barely muttered a sound. Each child was a challenge in his or her own way which I found exciting. Since money has obviously never been the reason people become teachers, the rewards for me became apparent as I spent some time teaching at a day care center. It is the gratification I receive when I see children become stronger because of my efforts. It is the satisfaction of being able to help others learn things about the world that they never imagined existed. It is the look of accomplishment when children have mastered writing their names for the first time.

Through these previous experiences with children, my desire to become a teacher was confirmed; now the opportunity to fulfill my dream has come, and it is my desire to make learning a positive experience by promoting creativity, positive attitudes, and a sense of self-worth. Having a son who is about to leave elementary school has shown me the importance of creativity in keeping the interest of students. Children need variety to keep them motivated. They need visuals. They also need "hands on" learning whenever possible. Class participation is vital to keep them focused. Subjects need to be presented in a non-threatening manner so that the student does not become discouraged. For example, one can present material in the form of a game. Subjects can also be presented through art. Next, positive attitudes need to be promoted. Students need to feel that their opinions matter, and it is important to help children set goals so they can see their accomplishments. Finally, a child should be made aware of his self-worth, for it is critical to his development. Positive strokes, something we as individuals never get enough of, are important to a child's social growth. Teachers and parents should be quick to point out the child's strong points and encourage him to use them whenever possible. Most importantly, every child needs to know that he is special.

My decision to become a teacher is based on my enjoyment of working with children, my experiences with children, and my personal desire to make learning a positive experience for children. I get satisfaction and a lot of love from the children I teach. I feel that I can make a difference in somebody's life. I feel God has given all of us a gift to do something; teaching is mine.

--Brenda Linn

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