It's a No Brainer! by Jennifer Langlinais
Reflecting on the recent interruptions to learning and how overwhelmed teachers are, my friend recently asked, "As hard as it is, why would you want to teach?" The answer to me was a no-brainer: I've wanted to teach for as long as I can remember, and I love teaching. I've been an elementary paraprofessional/co-teacher for six years. I consider it a privilege to be one of their early, positive influences. There's nothing I want more than to have my own classroom. Well, yes, there is. I want every student to know that I genuinely care and appreciate the time I get with them.
I love teaching because it is indeed the gift that keeps on giving. There is nothing that can compare to hearing an unforgettable excited voice saying, "Mrs. Jenny!" and seeing the running start of a huge hug coming your way - especially when it's from a student who was once timid and shy. I love teaching because watching an English Language Learner grow and thrive is an experience that I will never forget. Finally, I love teaching because it reminds me daily that love and trust transcend language.
To say I love what I do is an understatement. Knowing I can do even more in molding the lives of the world's future leaders is exciting and sometimes a little scary. But through it all, I am determined to hold steadfast to my main goal as a teacher. That goal is to always try to be the tiny chip that breaks through and sparks a fire in students to love learning.
Great teachers are a gem. Like a diamond, they scratch at the surface of each student to mold them into the best version of themselves. Unfortunately, they are not appreciated as much as they should be, which needs to change. I was lucky to have had a teacher, Mrs. Goutierrez, that made learning fun any way she could. I struggled, and she pushed me. I wanted to give up, and she wasn't having it. She was sometimes hard on me. But, finally, I realized it was because she saw my potential and wanted me to see it as well. Without her, I wouldn't have found my love for reading and writing. When she made me see myself in the way she did, I understood why she pushed me every step of the way. I wouldn't be the person I am today without her.
Who am I today, you ask? I am a paraprofessional who loves teaching so much that I work all day, attend classes at 9:15 p.m. three times a week, and complete fifteen plus hours of weekly school work at Reach University so that I can become a credentialed teacher who leaves an impact on my students as powerful as the one Mrs. Goutierrez did on me. I cannot wait to become the teacher I have always wanted to be.
I look forward to welcoming kids into my own classroom one day and watching them grow into the most amazing versions of themselves.
Jennifer Langlinais is a Pre-K paraprofessional at Seventh Ward Elementary in Abbeville, Louisiana, and a 2021-2022 student at Reach University where is working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Global Education from the Oxford Teachers College.