Why Teach

My earliest memory of a career choice occurred as a young elementary girl as I sat in my bedroom and helped a neighbor correctly pronounce simple words. I remember feeling a determination to continue having her practice the pronunciation until it came out correctly! My passion at that very moment was to help someone better themselves and leave them with a sense of empowerment from mastering a new skill or obtaining new knowledge. People would often ask about my career plans and I would reply with “I want to be a teacher”.

Teaching was my first instinct. I admired many of my elementary teachers for their effectiveness, organization and caring hearts. Their efforts in the classroom fueled my interest in teaching and helped develop me into a well rounded student eager to learn.

As I advanced into high school I was blessed again to have teachers who inspired and believed in me. My eyes were opened to my abilities in math and science and my career focus began to shift to pharmacy. I graduated high school and pursued a degree in Biology hoping to get into pharmacy school. At the time pharmacy school was very competitive and I knew it would be tough to get in on my first attempt. I didn’t get in but I wasn’t totally distraught. I began to think about my initial career instinct, teaching! I could use my Biology degree to teach and inspire students to follow their instincts and gifts, whatever they may be.

I entered into an alternate route certification program and I started my teaching career as a middle school science teacher. I was so excited and nervous about entering this career! There’s so much to learn and always room for growth, but those challenges are well worth the reward of making positive and lifelong connections with our future generations!

I’m currently 12 years into my teaching career and I get such joy when I receive letters, emails, notes, hugs, smiles, and appreciate words from current and former students. Their acknowledgement and appreciation is what keeps me in the field of teaching and inspires me to be the best that I can be. The relationships you build with your students are so important and vital to the profession. I value those relationships and I encourage anyone considering teaching to always make the relationships they build a top priority in the classroom.

Students who feel valued and respected will be eager to learn and that helps you reach them when instruction gets tough. Become a teacher, and make those positive lifelong connections that we desperately need in today’s society!

Dawn Smith

Biology I Teacher
Key Club Advisor
Science Department Chairperson
Gautier High School
Pascagoula-Gautier School District
Teacher of the Year 2019-2020

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