Today in school, apropos of I can ‘t remember what, a student asked me with disbelief and maybe even a tiny bit of disdain in his voice, “Did you want to be a teacher? I mean like when you were younger?” I laughed out loud at the tone in his voice and the utter skepticism that anyone could choose this profession intentionally. And there are moments when I wonder similarly, but regardless the answer is no.
I liked school. I liked the structure and the tasks with neat beginnings, middles, and ends. I loved to read, I was curious and had a great memory for facts. So school was a relatively fun place for me. But I never dreamed of being a teacher. Even when I decided to go back to school and get my teaching certification, it wasn’t because I wanted to be a teacher. I did it because I never wanted to work at a desk. I did it because I wanted every day to be different. I did it because I thought I could be a consistent adult for kids who might lack one in their lives. I did it because adolescents make me laugh and think.
But never because I wanted to be The Teacher. When I see little kids playing school or teacher, they inevitably end up bossing their friends or stuffed animals through a series of tasks. Unfortunately, I know teachers like that too. They are teachers who want to be The Teacher.
Which brings me to one of my favorite Harry Potter quotes. It comes from the King’s Cross chapter in the final book of the series. Harry is talking to Dumbledore about why he never pursued the position of Minister of Magic. Dumbledore (also a teacher incidentally) answers him by saying, “It is a curious thing Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.”
Curious, and true.