I knew I was supposed to become a teacher, 11 years ago.
11 years ago, I was a college sophomore at a community college in NE Ohio (which would later become my alma mater). I took a summertime math class with a brilliant black mathemetician, Dr. Bilal Bomani. Before his class, I was not really feeling math. I always felt like I was bad at it. Or bored. And I wasn’t looking forward to taking a summer math course. But soon as I stepped foot in his class, I knew this would be different. He wasn’t the first black math teacher I’d had but, he was definitely the first black math professor I’d had. And he told us from the first day that his class had one of the highest drop rates.
But I was determined. I had goals to reach. In order to transfer to the local university within a certain time frame (the following spring), I had to take and pass this particular math course. So here we go!
He was the first professor I had in college that pushed me, that challenged me. I was a naturally gifted writer, I loved reading, so most classes, especially English courses, were a breeze. But me and math, had always been at odds. He pushed us to practice and to think and never told us we couldn’t do it. He was firm yet encouraging. And I ended up getting an A in math for the first time EVER. I felt empowered. I felt like I could do anything if I put my mind to it. It was the best feeling ever. And I wanted others to experience that feeling. Because I knew there were so many other kids, especially black girls, who felt like I did. Who felt like they weren’t good at math.
And at that moment, I knew I wanted to become an educator. I actually almost went to school to become a middle school math teacher but the classes I needed to take, scared me away. Also I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to teach forever. But none of that mattered. I just needed to trust in what I knew and trust that God knew what the rest looked like.
What I didn’t understand at the time is that all I needed to worry about was taking that first step towards becoming an educator and trusting that the rest would be in God’s hands.
After college I worked for the government, in higher education, and for a non profit with after school programs before finally deciding to enter the classroom as a teacher. I was tired of feeling unfulfilled, of not making enough money, of not being able to have enough time with my son. I decided to finally try teaching.
The training during the summer that I went through, I was nervous as heck about teaching middle school, or just teaching in general.
But the moment I stepped in front of my sixth graders on the first day of school, power point clicker in hand, and opened my mouth…I knew I had [finally] come home.