Back in college, a professor of mine said he thought I was the kind of person who had to be “dragged kicking and screaming to her fate.” He was talking about teaching—and, of course, being stubborn. So like any stubborn young person, I did things my way first. Since I come from a family of service-minded teachers, I went instead into journalism in order to change the world. For years I enjoyed the work, but it was an intellectual pursuit only. And in the end, it was surprisingly easy to walk away from it all.
I’ve been a public school teacher now for four years. I work with so-called “at-risk” adolescents at a Title I school in a large urban school district. Never have I felt as engaged by an occupation or endeavor as I do when I’m in my classroom. Teaching taps my mind, my instincts, and my creativity. It aligns with my convictions regarding social justice and economic equity. It’s the way I participate in the promise of democracy. It has become how I acknowledge the possibilities within us all.
—- May 2013