My Journey: Draft III

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The journey of life follows a predetermined pattern; we evolve from needing influence and guidance to finally reaching that point where our lives are up to us. As I have traversed my adult life, I do not remember when but I have come to embrace the mantra “Be the Best You Can Be”. It is that “goal” to be the best I can be, as a mathematics teacher that has brought me to being apart of the Literacy Graduate program at Lehman College. So you may ask yourself, what causes someone to embrace the concept “be the best you can be”?

As, I sit back and reflect upon my life, and who I have become today, I must start with those who influenced me to pursue a teaching career. Throughout my adolescent years my teachers and coaches have been the ones who continually made everlasting impressions in my heart. Whether it was because they made me enjoy a subject that I previously didn’t or because they forced me to become a stronger and more independent person, they were always there and that is what mattered the most. School for me was my escape from a reality that I didn’t always want to be apart of.  Illuminating an exact moment when the light bulb inside my head turned on or when I went “AH HA” and shot my finger into the air, decided that teaching was my life path is simply just not feasible. As a young adolescent I always thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I had a plan: finish top ten percent in my class for high school, star athlete, Stanford law school and POOF live happily ever after. As a thirteen year old that was my plan and that plan continued until when it was actually time to make my plan become a reality. I thought and thought being the key word that being a lawyer is what I would be best at; however as I matured and learned more about college and programs it just didn’t make sense to me. A lawyer is a viewed as a prestigious career and seemed ideal, and it was still is for many just not for me.

Lets fast forward three years and I am sitting in the last seat, last row in honors college calculus, my friend and I are discussing options for college and majors that we might want to be. Now try and think about all those dreadful times when your professors and parents even friends of parents we asking “ where are you going to college, what do you want to be”? I never had an answer to where I wanted to attended the most important years of my life but I without hesitation the word “TEACHER” rolled off my tongue as if I have dreamed about it since I was a toddler. In a sense I think it is just who I am and who I continue to become.

Mathematics was a simple choice because it is concrete. I follow a procedure and I receive an exact answer, it is either right or wrong. Math was always my favorite and strongest subject, and of course physical education but how many teaching jobs are there for physical education?


Now you may be wondering, why would a math teacher want masters in literacy? Why not? I could have easily just taken more math courses and sailed through graduate school, but if I am being the best I can be, shouldn’t I challenge myself? Being apart of this program will not only help me implement new strategies into my math classroom but also aide me to becoming a more versatile candidate to schools. This is my third year of teaching in the Bronx and we are constantly reminded that every test for our students is also a reading test. Therefore in order for my students to improve in mathematics they must improve their literacy skills. If I want their literacy skills to improve I must first improve. This is the first step for me to helping them become the best they can be.

Teacher as defined in the dictionary as one who instructs. To teach someone is to communicate skills and give instruction. Parallel to the exact role of a teacher, teaching to me means to change lives. I don’t want just to be the teacher that taught math but a teacher who can help them become who they want to be. I strive to help them reach and achieve their personal long and short terms goals.

In todays society our students are not only struggling from socio-economic problems parallel with language barriers; they are competing. Competing for their desired High School and College, careers throughout all fields as well as attention. Being literate is no longer a privilege but a necessity to survive, especially our students who are bilingual and English Language Learners. I feel that even if I can help my students understand the significance of literacy in their lives they will be one step closer to achieving success. Attaining a literacy degree, as a mathematics teacher will hopefully help instill new strategies of learning into my math class and improve math levels a cognitive mathematical thinking. Essentially increasing literacy skills will coincide with the improvement in other areas. My future success as an educator will be their success as students, well at least that is the ultimate goal. As teachers we never stop learning, and we never stop caring. Every second of the day when I am standing in front of the class or leading a guided math circle I am learning from them and growing as a person.