Write an essay where you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to become a teacher.

In 2005, my brother, Nicholas, was diagnosed with ADHD. In addition, he was also labeled with Specific Learning Disability in reference to his progression in English Language Arts. This hurt his ability to learn successfully on grade level, I watched his struggle and wanted nothing but to ease his pain. Some students are not meant for school and that's okay, but when students are younger and you can see the determination to succeed like their peers around them, it only makes it harder for you as someone who cares for them. When Nick was accepted for special needs services, I knew I was interested. Even though I was only four years older than him, I wanted to help in any which way I could. Since he was home schooled for CCD (catholic education program), I made sure all of his modifications and accommodations were implemented in that education as well. It was not until he was in eighth grade did he come across a teacher who disliked him because of his disability. She would embarrass him by pointing out his illegible handwriting, spelling errors, and his poor reading fluency in front of the whole class. She would insult him by calling him stupid and telling him he didn’t belong in the general ed classroom because he was dumb. The day I noticed the motivation loss from Nick and seeing him so deterred from school and so helpless, was the moment I wanted to be a teacher. I did not want any student with disabilities think that they had any less of a chance to succeed in life because of their “setback.” Even though Nick can function in society unlike other students, I still did not think a student of any age should be told they are not enough to succeed because of the disability they were born with, not willingly chose. It is because of my brother and his “terrible, awful, no good, very bad” teacher that allowed that lightbulb in my head go off and pursued me to becoming something I will love every day of my life, and that is something I will be immensely grateful for.

Catherine from New Jersey
College Junior
Rowan University