Teachers were never fond of me in my growing years. I did stuff like surreptitiously rolling marbles down aisles, making more than a teacher of two cry, and, oh, how I loved to talk and pass notes…

Naturally, I never wanted to be one.

Back story: Accepted as a nursing major at the University of Maine, I had to take organic chemistry first semester freshman year. Hated it; it hated me. Pretty much failed it. Got saved by my chem professor, Dr. Pedlow, who made me a deal: If I dropped nursing, he’d pass me. (Not only did he pass me, he did it with a “C.”)

Gratefully, I never looked back.

After trying a couple of other majors on for size, I finally landed on English. I love to read, I love to write, and I love to talk, so it was a natural. But as a senior I had to ask: “What do English majors do?”

The usual response: “They teach.”

And that’s how I finally found my calling, but nowadays fewer are following me into the profession. In fact, according to collegetransitions.com, the top 2022-23 top college majors are, from most to least popular:

  1. Business
  2. Health professions
  3. Social sciences and history
  4. Engineering
  5. Biology
  6. Psychology
  7. Computer science
  8. Visual and performing arts
  9. Communication/journalism
  10. Education

That’s where we are today, coming in at #10, coming in last.

Yes, the profession has changed considerably with politicians and politics inserting themselves into classrooms, but still, there is no better way to spend your days than in the company of children, affecting the future as few others can.

And so, with thanks to USA Today, give a listen to these advice gems credited to teachers by their former students:

  • Teacher Randall W. Scott III (Michigan’s Davidson High School) sent in by now 26-year-old Shawn Bednard: “You don’t have to be the best or the most talented, you just have to be willing to work the hardest. Effort beats all.”
  • Teacher Dave Olivo (Missouri’s Marquette High School) sent in by now 44-year-old Geoffrey Louis Koch: “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”
  • Teacher Thomas Beeman (California Virtual Academies) by (age unavailable) Emma Soto: “Failing a class is not the end of the world. I failed a semester of math and still made it through college and into my career, you will be able to get through to yours, too.”

And in case you need a bit more inspiration to boost your opinion of educators:

  • “I touch the future. I teach.” ~ Christa McAuliffe, teacher/astronaut killed on Space Shuttle Challenger
  • “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands who remember them for the rest of their lives.” ~ Andy Rooney, radio/TV writer and broadcaster
  • “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers, and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.” ~ Lee Iacocca, American auto executive

With a nod to Dr. Pedlow, no settling for me…

With my many thanks and good wishes, Carol