No, just five more minutes then you can go potty. I half beg, half tell my student to wait. I give the dirty tutu clad 5 year old a silly grin that says, I know your tricks. I have already been asked this question by a dozen girls in the past hour. But unless they are doing the "potty dance" and not the choreographed steps, I don't let them out. I had a precious half hour to teach them, and improve upon what little tap and ballet they already knew, and so began my love for teaching. At the time however I didn't see it as my love for teaching but my love for these little girls. My joy was in the fact that I was helping them full fill a dream that every little girl has. There was hope in that class room not reality. It was different than any of my current class rooms, dance or academic. There was no popularity order, no judge-mental glares, just the freedom to have fun and learn at the same time. The only pain I felt in those hours was knowing that their joy in learning would soon dwindled, if not disappear all together. Self motivation was not something I could teach them, as I had once taught myself. It was self motivation that saved me that year, Completing two years of high school in one, while teaching four classes at a local studio and taking seven is no small feat. I was exhausted and stressed out, but I also knew that this is what I wanted so I was determined to make it happen.
I spent every weekend fixed to my computer working on a correspondence class. My only companion in those long hours was the full pot of coffee that was always ready and waiting for me. Weekdays were hardly as relaxing. I woke up every morning at six, got ready and drove my siblings and myself to school. After a full days of classes at school, I headed to dance, on any given day of the week I was sure to be found at the studio taking or teaching dance classes. I often substitute taught classes, for after being there three years I knew most every child, and teaching their classes was always fun for everyone. I would arrive home at nine do my homework, then fall into bed exhausted but ready to start all over in the morning. As graduation neared I began to really think about my future and what I wanted to do with my life. That year I had gained even more respect for my teachers, who had cheered me along in my endeavor to graduate. Perhaps being a teacher myself had made me more of an empathetic and conscientious student. But when asked what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, the only thing I could see myself doing, and loving, was teaching.
The power to influence the future lies in the hands of the teachers, who are arguably the greatest influence on children. I do not want to just teach a subject, anyone can teach 2+2=4, or that Istanbul is the modern day Constantinople. Children and teenagers alike tend to forget the lessons taught, but remember the teacher. I do not remember what I learned in seventh grade science but I will forever remember my teacher Ms. Slack. What stands out most was that she was never condescending; she spoke to me as if I were an adult. That is what made me want to make her proud. I liked her; I wanted her praise, I respected her because she respected me. That is the kind of teacher I want to be.