Sunday, December 03, 2006

Plans for next year

The second of our required posts is to talk about our plans for next year. I doubt anyone really wants to hear my plans for next year in light of the fact that I won't be continuing as a high school teacher, but I'm at a loss for what else to write about. So here it goes. Last year I applied to and was accepted to medical school. I chose to defer my admission until this upcoming year. In general, I don't like to talk about my future as a medical doctor. It's not that I am regretting entering medical school because I would love nothing more than to become a physician. I'm passionate about the medical sciences, I am fascinated with the workings of the human body, and I want to continue serving others, etc; however, I can't help but feel a little guilty that I won't be continuing my service to the students of Mississippi.

This year has been a great year. I feel that my students have made significant gains in the classroom, and I feel that I have made significant gains as a teacher. Without a doubt, I am 10 times the teacher I was last year. (For those of you who think I'm bragging, rest assured, I am FAR from a perfect teacher, and I've come far enough in my teaching career to feel comfortable enough to acknowledge that fact.) That said, I can't imagine how much I will improve if I stay for a third year, or a fourth year, or a fifth year, etc. So I am left with the question, will I help more people as a physician or as a teacher? (That question seems irrelevant until you define the word "help" but you get the point.)

I feel guilty that I have taken so much from the Mississippi Teacher Corps. Two years of experience as a teacher and a Masters degree in Education. The program has spent a lot of money on me. I was and am still an investment. Was I a smart investment? What are the Teacher Corps's gains on this investment? I'm leaving Mississippi and leaving the field of secondary education. What if someone else, someone who was planning on staying in teaching could have had my spot? These are the types of questions that swirl around in my head as I look ahead toward next year.

Finally, I feel guilty about leaving the profession in general because of the nature of the job. Let's face it, there is a shortage of teachers and the field could certainly benefit from having one more teacher with a Masters degree in their ranks. Students need good teachers and yet I am leaving. I am perpetuating the shortage.

Yet if I was given the opportunity to go back in time and apply to medical school earlier, so that I could matriculate right after college, I think I would still choose to teach for two years. I would choose to teach because I can't even begin to tell you how much I've gained from this experience. I have grown so much as a person and have gained invaluable life skills. I feel like I've been forced to grow up over the past two years and I don't mean "grow up" as in I've become more mature. I mean it in the sense that I've had to constantly struggle day in and day out to figure out how to make the lives of my students better. It's a type of empathy that you can't learn from your parents or from being in college. In fact, few other professions offer this type of learning. Today, in many respects, I am a completely different individual than the one that originally applied to the program.

But the fact remains, I am leaving the profession. I will still teach. After all, the word doctor means teacher in Latin. My teaching, however, will be in a completely different capacity. So I ask myself, will I commit a selfish injustice by leaving the program and the profession despite the investment of the Teacher Corps and the teacher shortage? I fear the answer is yes.


At 5:19 PM, Blogger Ben Guest said...


You are too hard on yourself. You have fulfilled your commitment and MTC has certainly collected on our investment tenfold. To ask you to stay any longer would be selfish on our part, not yours.



Post a Comment

<< Home