Why I don’t teach
In my senior year of high school, my teachers were quite enthusiastic (in fact, much more enthusiastic than I remember them ever being…oddly enough) to find out about our lives, dreams, goals, expectations. What colleges were we going to? What majors were we looking at? What careers did we want to go into?
Maybe it was just that they saw something in us. I know teachers see something in *all* of their students, because they are just that inspired to see potential (gag me!)…but my friends and I were the honor students…the AP students. The National Merit Scholars and National Achievement Scholars and National Hispanic Scholars. So if anyone from my little old high school was going places, it would be us.
My teachers who had lived in Oklahoma their entire lives were quite pleased that many of my friends were going to school in Oklahoma. People from my town seem to believe that OU or OSU (Oklahoma State, of course, not The Ohio State…) are the best schools in the world. So they actually…lamented…that some students might go to a higher ranked school. And for me, going to Texas A&M…GASP. Blasphemy! Fortunately, I had some teachers who were originally from out of state, so they could see that maybe OU wasn’t the end-all be-all of education (even if their football team is not doing badly at all).
But interestingly enough, where I met most opposition from my teachers — Oklahoman or not — was in my choice of major: accounting. Ohhh….Accounting? Why would you ever want to do that!? What a waste of talent!
And what job did these teachers propose I pursue instead? Why, of course, they said I should be a teacher.
It’s probably because they had a vested interest, but the consensus seemed to be that I had a gift for communicating and teaching that was being utterly wasted in a dry and unengaging profession (I challenge that, but that’s yet another note).
I could never be a teacher though. If I were to teach, I’d have some very strict requirements. It would have to pay well (oops!); I’d only stand teaching students who care…like honors or AP students (I hated the few non-honors courses I took in high school. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to teach one of these!) And I’d only teach a subject that I felt comfortable in.
For me, this last point is the one that really matters. If I don’t feel comfortable with a subject, I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with others. I feel terrible recommending products for my parents, even though they know I’m good at researching the pros and cons of whatever they want to purchase. How can I recommend a product I wouldn’t buy? Getting bargain prices for phones is not the criteria I use to decide what phone I’d get (because I’m a bit of a techie when it comes to my cellphones…) so how can I work with a $150 budget?
I feel the same way with missionary work. The church is big on missionary work and wants me to be as well. I could talk to people about a lot of things I like about the church, but then I realize that if left to my own devices, I would miss the essentials. For me, the gospel was never why I stayed. The Book of Mormon was not the reason why I enjoyed. So, for me, finding holes in these things was not a problem. It wasn’t like I was hinging everything on these things.
I can talk about how the church prepares kids for business. It emphasizes leadership, management, communication skills, delegation, responsibility, etc., It emphasizes (to an extent) education. It emphasizes clean living. I can go for these.
But missionaries aren’t really about that (although they would not be able to do what they do without these things). They are about the plan of Salvation and Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Yet these are the very things I’d be uncomfortable in talking about. These are not the things I would use as criteria to buy into a church, even though by default, that’s what’s religions are about.
I guess realizing that I never went for the core of religion made it that much easier to realize I wasn’t religious, faithful, spiritual, or theist at all. How uneventful.