God has a plan for each and every one of us. The journey toward this plan is what makes life interesting. As a child, I knew that I would go to college, major in pre-law and become a lawyer. I have come to understand, however, that I had a greater purpose. I am now a sophomore at College of Notre Dame of Maryland (CND), majoring in Elementary Education and Religious Studies. This change is not just a change of major, but of mindset. I had to first understand that I had a greater purpose and then figure out how to use my gifts to help others. Studying to become a teacher was the perfect fit for me. I love children and I love to learn, so why not teach others to enjoy learning as well?
Attending college has opened many doors for me thus far. During the winter break of 2010, I was able to work in a Philadelphia school for a week. I enjoyed every minute of being with the students at St. Peter the Apostle School. The love they have for education is amazing, and it is this love that I want to spread to young people, in Baltimore or in any city. Having a solid educational foundation is very important in one’s educational development. Teaching in the elementary level is imperative to me, because if you can instill the importance of education – as well as religion – at a young age, that child will remember that lesson for a lifetime.
This winter I observed second-graders at John Ruhrah Elementary School in East Baltimore. For three weeks I experienced hands-on the life of a teacher. This experience would be the final decision-maker, as to whether education is the best fit for me. I would either still want to become a teacher or change my major as soon as I returned to school from winter break. Thankfully, I had an amazing experience and I know education is the best fit for me.
As an educator you are more than the person who stands in the front of the room and lectures. An educator is a teacher, listener, friend, caregiver, mother or father figure, inspiration, leader, nurse, psychologist, protector and provider. Teaching not only happens in the classroom; there are life lessons that teachers provide for their students.
In the elementary level, the basis of education is formed. In kindergarten through fifth grade, one learns the basic of all subjects. Middle school, high school and college are a continuation of those basic ideas on a larger and more complicated scale. In the second-grade classroom I observed, the students wrote stories, learned vocabulary words, practiced phonics, made symmetrical objects and made up their own surveys for mathematics. They began looking at cursive and trying to write on their own. They used context clues to analyze stories in their reading books and prepare for weekly reading analysis tests. Without a solid foundation into the beginnings of learning, the students would not have done as well as they did on their tests. In three weeks, I learned so much.
Becoming an educator will help me change someone’s life. Children need to know that getting an education will take you on a great journey in life. The success one can have from getting a proper education and doing well is incredible. The success one can have with that proper education, doing well and the grace of God are indescribable. With God on your side, the blessings are endless and you can do anything. You can be just like me, a young African-American woman who obtains scholarships to attend a college with a tuition of $40,000; have an overall 3.5 grade point average while taking an 18-credit load; and have three jobs.
Learning and appreciating that God has the master plan will help you through the journey. It truly shows that what God has for you; it is and shall ever be just for you.
Kirby P. Gaddy, a student at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, is a parishioner of historic St. Francis Xavier Parish.