I didn’t think I was truly smart until I stepped foot on campus at UC Berkeley. I still did not know what I was good at or what life would really be like outside of K-12. The K-12 setting that I had been used to was mainly textbook based and required little critical thinking or creativity. If you didn’t already have skills, you wouldn’t be taught those skills in school. My experiences in school were not necessarily negative, but they definitely weren’t inspiring in any way. Now I know that there are many ways to be smart and there are many great skills that I have, and still much that I can work on. Even when I graduated from UC Berkeley, I kind of thought I would move down to LA and become a screenwriter. But then I didn’t want to move to LA.
At different points in my life, I had always wanted to be a teacher and I came back to that about a year after college. What I didn’t know is if I could become a teacher. I had strong analytical skills and problem-solving skills, creativity, the heart for it, and knowledge in a variety of areas. But teaching required presenting yourself to students, being enthusiastic, and telling everyone what to do. I did not like telling people what to do or feigning enthusiasm. But I worked hard to become a teacher anyway. And after working for 7 years and getting my Master’s of Education, I can say with confidence that there is still so much about teaching, education, and students that I have yet to learn. I have been told at different times by students that I am different than other teachers. I take that positively, I hope. I realized that being a teacher does not require telling people what to do or what to think, or require being a great actor who can engage anyone in their performance. What is most important is being able to inspire students to think for themselves, problem-solve, innovate, and be creative so they can actually learn what skills they have, gain the skills they want, and live meaningful lives.