In honor of World Teachers Day, A Plus asked educators to recall the exact moment when they knew they were meant to be in the classroom. The teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels. Being a teacher is not for the faint of heart; it's a true calling that puts these talented individuals in the classrooms.
1. "I was part of a group in high school that helped tutor kids in elementary who were having trouble reading. It was so cool seeing them get better and knowing that I played a part in it."
2. "I always thought I would become a physicist after college, until a group of high school students came on a tour in our building. I overheard them saying that they couldn't wait to get to college so they wouldn't have to take science classes anymore. I became a teacher because I wanted to fix that attitude."
3. "All the men in my family are teachers, so it was just something I always thought I would do, too. There wasn't one specific moment I can point to, but I don't think I could be happier."
4. "Growing up, my home life was terrible. There were a few different types of abuse going on, and I never thought it would stop. My 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Adams, called social services and saved me. I became a teacher to pay it forward and be on the lookout for any other kids who might need saving."
5. "This isn't going to be the inspiring answer you're looking for, but I originally went into the teaching program in college because I thought it was going to be easy. Then I did student teaching in a Kindergarten class. Not easy, but really worth it."
6. "I got bullied a lot when I was young, and had a lot of teachers let me eat lunch in the classroom, instead of in the cafeteria. Sometimes I got to sit at their desk instead of mine, and it made me feel safe and powerful. I still feel safest and happiest in the classroom."
7. "I've always loved math, and I always had ideas about fun activities I wish we could do to teach it. I decided to teach so I could make the classroom that I always wanted to be in as a kid."
8. "It probably wasn't until the end of my second year of teaching that I felt like being an educator was who I was, instead of just what I did. I wasn't very good my first year, and didn't really connect with my students. Something clicked the next year, and it's been wonderful since."
9. "I became a substitute as a way of making ends meet after I got laid off. I expected it to be miserable because you never hear of kids being good when their regular teacher is away, but that group of students treated me really well. I've been teaching full time for three years now."
[Header image: iStockphoto/Wavebreakmedia]