By Kelly Korek – A staple of my senior year of high school was being constantly asked what my plans for after graduation were. When people heard that I was going to go to school to become a middle school math teacher, I was met with either a compliment of how wonderful that is and how we need more good math teachers, the response that I am absolutely crazy to want to teach math to that age, or being told that I am way too smart to become a teacher and should be majoring in something more challenging.
The first two responses I can understand – I appreciate people recognizing the need for teachers and I get that it takes a certain type of person to love math and young teenagers enough to want to teach them. But I cannot wrap my head around why someone would think that I could be too smart to be a teacher. As I have gone through my education coursework over the last three years and my first month as a student teacher, I fail to see how a “less smart” person would be able to do it.
A teacher needs to be smart enough to understand their content enough to be able to not only teach it once to their students but also know how to explain it in multiple ways.
A teacher needs to be smart enough to find ways to engage thirty different people into each lesson and keep their focus.
A teacher needs to be smart enough to know how to adjust their teaching to accommodate for any need that their students might bring to the classroom.
A teacher needs to be smart enough to align to standards, new tests, and every other new requirement thrown their way.
A teacher needs to be smart enough to balance the hours of lesson planning, grading, supervising extracurricular activities, meeting with students outside of class, and still managing to have a life outside of school.
I could go on for days and I am positive that anyone else who has ever spent time in front of a classroom would agree. So please, don’t ever tell me that I am too smart to be a teacher. Instead be grateful that I have chosen to use my intelligence to help your children, nieces or nephews, or family friends. I could have picked to do something else with my life but instead I was smart enough to be a teacher.