My Biggest Teaching Inspirations

In all honesty, until about 2 years ago, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a teacher. Not even as I was sitting at my desk, filling out college applications, and staring at the box that said “Select a Major.” (I was freaking out.)

I wish I could say that this is what I have always dreamed of doing with my life, that I knew at 7 years old that this is what I wanted, and that I started this Pinterest board back in 2012 (I started it about a year and a half ago…). But the truth is, it took a lot of thinking, reflecting, and a bit of panicking, to finally pull the trigger.

What I can say for sure, is that the teachers I have had during my own schooling are the same individuals that I think about when I find myself unsure of the path I am currently taking. They are my main inspirations, and I am constantly working to be as great of a teacher to my future students as they were to me.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Wong, was the first teacher that I felt like really saw me. I had just moved schools in the middle of the year and was deathly afraid.

I got to school way too early and was standing outside the classroom like:

She came right up to me, started a conversation, and reassured me that I was going to be just fine. For the rest of the year, we would talk everyday before school, and I helped her out with anything I could after school. Her classroom was the one place in my life that I felt heard and seen. I want to be able to make my future students feel as safe and welcomed as she made me feel.

The next teacher that impacted me was my math teacher in freshmen year of high school, Ms. Sebastian. I have to start this by saying, I am terrible at math.

It felt like no matter how many practice problems I did, I could never get the hang of anything (but I did manage to memorize the quadratic equation – a win in my book). I started going in after school and Ms. Sebastian spent many hours teaching me ideas over and over and over again, showing me countless practice problems, and trying every possible strategy she could think of.

It was at the end of the year, when I just managed to scrape by and pass my exams, that I realized how hard it must have been to help me. The way she managed to pull out all the stops just to help me understand a single concept was incredible, and was the only way I was able to pass that class. I am a firm believer in the idea that there is no such thing as an unteachable student. It is a huge teaching goal of mine to be able to gather as many strategies and skills as possible so that I have a full toolbox of ways to help the “unteachable” student.

Mrs. Wong and Ms. Sebastian are not the only two teachers I have to owe my inspiration to, every teacher I have ever had has taught me something, and I aim to take all of my experiences and add to my own teaching approach, to hopefully be another students inspiration someday.

3 Replies to “My Biggest Teaching Inspirations”

  1. Mykaela, I really admire the way you were able to tell your story through this post! And how wonderful to have those teachers as your inspiration (you should consider sending this post to them)! It is so amazing to hear people’s paths to teaching and the forces that brought them where they are today. I am excited to hear how you will influence and encourage your students someday, like how Mrs. Wong and Ms. Sebastian impacted you.

  2. Hey Mykaela! I loved reading your story. I, too, struggled to find my passion til the day I stepped foot into some of my education classes here at UP. I enjoyed reading about your inspirations and can tell how much of an impact they made in your life.

  3. Mykaela,
    First off – I think its a strength to approach career choices with a bit of cautious skepticism. It’s smart to keep checking in on yourself to confirm your path.

    And I like the way you have gone back through your own journey as a student to catalogue the teachers that made a difference to you. And then tried to decide how they did that and how you could be inspired by their actions.

    I still remember my inspirational teachers and its getting on 50-60 years since I was a student in their classes. I’ll never forget them.

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