When I Grow Up, I Want to Be...

When someone asks me what I do for a living, I often struggle to provide an answer that doesn't result in a confused expression followed by an awkward, "oh, that sounds interesting." Descriptions like instructional designer, course developer, and eLearning specialist rarely translate, so I often describe myself as a teacher. Though my original motivation for this response was to prevent a blank stare and awkward pause, I've since realized that this answer is more accurate than any of the others. I've wanted to be a teacher since I can remember. I wrote the letter below when I was in 4th grade. To my students' chagrin, I failed to follow through on my pledge to avoid homework, but I did become a teacher.

This letter is especially meaningful to me because becoming a teacher would have been my last answer if you had asked me in 3rd grade. We've all had bad teachers, so you can probably relate when I say my 3rd grade teacher was the female version of Professor Snape, intent on Expelliarmusing my happiness and confidence. I don't remember many of my teachers' names, but I remember hers...hi Mrs. Vaughn.

The other name I will never forget was that of my 4th grade teacher: Mrs. Jamieson. Since I'm apparently on a Harry Potter kick, I'd say she shared Hagrid's gentle nature and height, but she embodied McGonagall's commanding demeanor and pedagogical talent. She probably never knew back then that she changed the direction of my entire life. I ended up getting a Bachelor's and Master's in Music Education, and went on to teach various music courses at the middle school, high school, and college level. I always loved creating new curriculum and enhancing existing curriculum, but it was my first experience teaching online that led to a critical 'ah ha!' moment. I wasn't in love with teaching the arts; I was in love with the art of teaching. I had stumbled upon the essence of instructional design over the years, but I wanted to learn more; do more; be more. I went back to school, earned my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, and quickly realized what I really wanted to be when I grow up - beyond becoming a teacher. So, Mrs. Jamieson, I hope you don't mind if I expand my answer a bit over the next few blog posts.

When I grow up, I want to be a teacher who...stayed tuned!

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