You should become a teacher because one day three of your kids will have accidents, but only one will tell you about theirs, and there will be a puddle of pee literally soaking into your rug AND your carpet, but one of those kids will come up to you at the end of the day and say, “I wish we didn’t have to go home. I wish we could just stay here with you.”
You should become a teacher because you will see and hear your speech reflected in five-year-olds. You will hear your offhand remarks (“silly Ms. Pendergast”) become catchphrases. You will hear them read words the way you do, with your inflection and intonation and cadence, and it will humble you and scare you. They see everything. They hear everything.
You should become a teacher because, in an era when everyone says kids are getting more and more self-centered, you will hear “you can borrow mine!” insistently urged anytime any child can’t find any color of crayon they want.
You should become a teacher because when you grab your purse to run out during lunch, one of your students will say, “are you going somewhere?” and you’ll say yes, and they’ll say, “But you’re coming back, right?”
You should become a teacher because parents will tell you that their child used to cry coming into school but now gets sad when they say it’s Friday and there’s no school tomorrow.
You should become a teacher because your students will call kalua pig “koala pig” and you “Miss Kindergast.”
You should become a teacher because the pay is lower than you’d like and teacher bladders are a thing and so are observations and evaluations and mandated professional development and self-motivated professional development with 85-page portfolios that you complete at night after you’ve taught all day and prepped for the next.
You should become a teacher because people will tell you that you don’t have a real job (true story, happened to me last month), and you’ll laugh because your job is as real as it gets.
You should become a teacher because people will say things like, “With a brain like yours? You could do so much more!” and you’ll smile because they mean well.
You should become a teacher because one day your kids will sing “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman and you’ll just want to cry because they really are the future, and they really will build the world.
You should become a teacher because you’ll quiz your kids on their letter flashcards anytime they walk through the door, and when you say we’re skipping flashcards today, they’ll frown and say, “Awwwww.”
You should become a teacher because people will refer to your job as babysitting and you’ll smile and think, “Well, actually I teach children to READ, and COUNT, and WRITE, and LEARN HOW TO EXIST IN SOCIETY…”
You should become a teacher because one child will say “When you’re really mad and want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four!” and you’ll remember that when you forget your wallet and are late for an appointment (again) and indeed feel like roaring. (And when you tell her you remembered what she said, she’ll say, “Um, actually, Ms. Pendergast–that’s from Daniel the Tiger.” #citeyoursources)
You should become a teacher because when you’re out for three days, three different parents will contact you wishing you well and saying their child misses you.
So yes, you should become a teacher. With a brain like yours. With the paycheck the way it is. You should become a teacher.