I am halfway through a four-year degree titled something along the lines of "mathematics, with a teaching certificate". To explain all that, I first need to explain my college. I go to IPFW, which stands for I Paid For What? Except it's really Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. IU and PU are two major universities of Indiana, and it's a satellite campus for both of them. Purdue is giving me the mathematics part of my degree, and IU is providing the education courses. The idea is for me to be a math teacher for grades 6-12 by the end of my four years there.
I don't know if ya'll have noticed, but there is some...upheaval in the education realm these days. I view teaching as a career that focuses on, you know, teaching. However, most education is provided by public tax dollars, making teaching quite a bit more political. I understand that politics are a necessary evil, but it can be pretty frustrating sometimes. So a legitimate question would be why do I want to teach?
I took an interesting route to come to the decision that I want to teach. I left high school a semester early at the age of 17, and went straight to IPFW, thinking that I'd do well as a computer scientist. I've always had an interest in computers and how they work, so I thought this interest would sustain me through a degree and career. Three and a half semesters later, a culmination of a few things made me realize that computer science isn't for me.
As the courses got to the higher numbers, the information became more detailed and, in my mind, tedious. While I have a great respect for those who stick with it, this made me lose interest in the content being taught. Second, all but one of the computer science professors I had taught in some fairly difficult accents. I have nothing against foreign professors, especially if they are the best and the brightest, but I found it very difficult to learn the content when I had to spend so much attention deciphering what was being said. Third, I put myself in the shoes of future Sam the computer scientist, and didn't like what I saw. I did not want to be tied down behind a desk for the rest of my working years. Again, I have nothing against those who work desk jobs, it just isn't for me.
Alright, so computer science isn't for me. Why teaching then? Once again, it was a mixture of reasons. My sister, Blondie, is also an aspiring math teacher, and my uncle has been a math teacher for ten years now. They were, and still are, my inspirations. I also had the privilege of helping Blondie through calculus. I very much enjoyed watching the light go on when she understood something because I explained it. I figured that teaching would be a far more fulfilling career than any desk job. Besides, if a bunch of adolescents and young adults couldn't keep life interesting, who could?
As for the math, well, math just makes sense. There's no subjectivity, no English teacher to judge your writing based more or less on their opinion. And I always like math more than other subjects throughout my career as a student. So here I am, a math teacher-to-be from IPFW. I get to spend two mornings a week at my middle school, observing my former eighth grade teacher. And those are the two mornings I look forward to, even though it cuts into my sleep-in time. So I must be doing something right!