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

When I was 5 years old, I heard my sister running up the stairs screaming that something had happened to my dad. I remember jumping out of bed and running downstairs to find my grandparents (whom me and my 4 other siblings lived with) crying. My father had passed away due to a birth defect in his heart that was made worse with heavy smoking. My grandparents raised my siblings and I from that point on because my mother was addicted to drugs and was deemed unfit to care for us. Growing up, i didn't really have a male role model or mentor. I had my grandfather, but he wasn't able to do things that other fathers could. I am forever thankful for my grandpa doing everything he could for my siblings and I, even though it wasn't as much as he wanted it to be.
Going through school was, and still is, hard for me. Not having a father to share my experiences and schooling with is something that I think about everyday. I was one of the only children in my class that didn't have both parents raising them. None of my friends knew what it was like to be raised by grandparents. I hate the thought of children going through what I did alone. I am becoming an educator because I do not want children to think that they have to go through this alone. I want to be the male role model and mentor that I needed when I had no one to turn to. I have made so many connections with students over the years and I cannot tell you how many children need to have that male role model in their lives, no matter their backgrounds, family dynamics, etc. I am a firm believer that students who have male teachers are going to truly benefit from them.
There is such a stigma around men in education, especially Early Childhood Education. I am the only male Early Education major in the Class of 2020, which is devastating. I am becoming an educator to be the role model and mentor that our students need and to show them that you can pursue whatever career you want because gender does not decide for you.

Dalton from Illinois
College Junior
Illinois State University