Purposeful Lives

Lauren Warren-F., junior, education
Lauren F.
I remember the very first time I walked into my first education class. It was a magical moment that I embraced with such starry-eyed ambition; after all, it was my first step toward becoming an elementary teacher like I had dreamed. I met a whole bunch of new friendly faces that were working toward many different, yet inspiring, goals. Each dream was spoken with such passion that I knew I had to be in the right place, and I delved right into my studies with Dr, Karen Backor as my guide.

While the class was exciting at first, it soon fell into the doldrums of being familiarly tedious and exhausting, in which there was reading upon reading and writings upon writings; then came that day that Dr. Backor showed us the film “Waiting for Superman.” At first glance, I didn’t think too much of the movie as a whole, but at the end of the movie I was shocked at what I had just witnessed. I witnessed a failing school system. I witnessed a union of teachers refusing to budge for the sake of their paychecks rather than for the sake of their students. I witnessed parents unable to do anything as their children wasted away in an ineffective school. I witnessed children’s dreams get crushed after being unable to gain better education for themselves. And I was horrified to see that nobody was doing anything to stop it.

My beliefs about what teaching entailed and its realities were shaken to the very core. I’m not ashamed to say that I went home and cried for who knows how long at the despair I’d just seen. There was even a moment when I considered abandoning my dream of being an elementary teacher altogether, but then there was this little glimmer of a thought that came bursting through me. I began to realize that, while I had an escape route out, there were many students that had no such option. I began to realize that what I was feeling and what they were feeling was no different. I began to realize that the only way to make it better was to become a champion for my students. I would be the knight in shining armor for my students who were powerless to their plight. I would protect and train my students to be the best that they could possibly be despite what anyone or any school said about them. At that moment, I had been given something that no one could ever take away from me—I had been given conviction. From that day on, I had dedicated myself to learning everything I possibly could about becoming a better teacher.

I owe all of my success from that point onward to my professors because I would not be nearly as good at what I do without their guidance and support. Since that moment, Dr. Backor has become one of my greatest mentors, role models, and I would hope to say, my friend. I like to think of this moment as my transformation from an ambitious, dewy-eyed dreamer to a passionate, determined superhero. I would never give it up that experience for anything in the world. Because in that moment I was a sword forged through the fires of reality and made anew.