Passion for Education by Sarah Symes, SED 2016
As cliché as it sounds, I have always wanted to be a teacher. In the elementary school, I used to spend hours upon hours reading to my American Girl dolls, making sure that I held my picture books sideways just like my teachers did.
My aspiration followed me through middle and high school and when it came time to search for colleges, I sought out institutions with strong education programs, specifically ones that allowed you to have experience in the classroom during your freshman year. Then, during the winter of my junior year, I got a postcard from Boston University School of Education inviting me to “become the educator that inspired you!”
My dad and I visited SED that February for the Junior Open House, where I learned about ED 100, or the Introduction to Education class that all SED students must take. The course, which combines a college class with a field placement at a local urban or suburban school, was mentioned multiple times during the Open House.
Nineteen months and many miracles later, as a newly matriculated SED freshman, I began to see what the big hype about ED 100 was all about. As I listened to all of Professor Tate’s stories and began my time in a fourth grade classroom at the Alcott School in Concord, it was clear that this class was going to guide me towards fulfilling my dream.
However, within the first weeks of the class, questions of doubt began to form in my heart. While the ED 100 lectures were wonderful and my cooperating teacher was excellent, I was beginning to worry that I could never be as brilliant, competent, or passionate as my fellow classmates already seemed to be.
Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a teacher after all.
Near the end of the semester, my Teaching Fellow for ED 100, a doctoral student named Dan, approached me as we were leaving Alcott.
“You seem to love this so much. You come on the bus positively beaming”.
I nodded and smiled. Then, I resolved to be honest, to say the words that had been swimming in my heart for weeks.
“I do love this. I love the students and my cooperating teacher is amazing. But I’m starting to doubt whether I was made for this. I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough. I don’t think I’ll ever be the teacher that these students deserve”
Dan replied with words that I would not soon forget.
“Look, I’m not going to tell you what you should do with your life. But if you’re worried about becoming a great teacher, you shouldn’t be, because SED has the resources for it. You’re going to have time in the classroom and methods classes and student teaching. But the joy and passion you have for teaching, SED can’t teach you that. That’s not teachable. That comes from your heart.”
I would love to say that Dan’s words extinguished my teaching doubts and apprehensions permanently, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is, I don’t know what the future holds for me. However, I do know that I have the faith to embrace such uncertainty, as well as an amazing academic community to support me, as I pursue my lifelong dream.