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

I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood. Failure is set up for you when you’re born in Englewood. Liquor stores, fast food restaurants, lack of resources and employment opportunities. Englewood remains a food desert requiring citizens to travel far distances if they want simple things like fresh produce, or “luxuries” like Starbucks, Chipotle, a bookstore, even a place to work out. Growing up I rarely knew anyone from my neighborhood who had a real job, went to college, or wasn’t dealing with some sort of drug or alcohol abuse.

I am the oldest child of five children; I have one brother and three sisters. A personal financial hardship I have had to deal with was living in poverty as my mother worked minimum wage jobs to support me and my four siblings. This situation has lead to me and my family living in multiple housing placements. I live with seven other family members: my four siblings, mother, grandmother, and grandfather in a one-story, two bedroom, one bathroom house.

I am currently a Sophomore Journalism Education major with a minor in African American Studies. I understand and see the need for black males in classrooms across America. Not just as someone providing information on a specific subject but someone who looks like, understands, and can relate to students of color. I recognize the disparities in education across low socioeconomic status communities. During my K-12 education, I attended school in low-income neighborhoods where the education system was inadequately funded, schools had limited resources, and the teaching staff lacked a male presence. I believe these factors contributed to many African American males feeling trapped with no way out of their situations unless they played sports. As an educator, I plan to serve as living proof that higher education is a way out and can make a difference.

Aric from Indiana
College Sophomore
Ball State University