What’s Your “Why?”


According to Zippia, 79% of students say they’ve been encouraged to follow their dreams by a teacher. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Being an education major, the main question everyone asks me is, “Why?” They want to know why I am choosing to go into a field plagued with terrible pay, potentially dangerous working conditions and a rough work-life balance. I always have the same answer: I want to end my career knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life, that I have impacted our youth in a way that they will always remember. A pay stub or an easy 9-5 job is not my goal – I want to make a positive influence in this world, no matter how big or small. 

When I first came to MSU, I was eager to go straight to Dillard and become the most successful entrepreneur to come through the university. However I soon realized that business was not the place for me, and nothing against those at Dillard, but yearning to become a wealthy individual clouded my judgement on where my heart was truly leading me. I came to the conclusion that I was unhappy because my happiness comes from helping others in a heartfelt way, not from building a business and giving to charity one day. Therefore, my heart led me to the West College of Education, my home for the next couple of years here at MSU.

Today on the golf course I was lucky enough to see my previous teacher and golf coach, and while catching up he asked me what I was going to college for. After telling him about my hopes to become a teacher, he looked at me and said, “Tyler, are you sure that’s what you want to do? I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it only gets harder every year.” I gave him my usual response as stated previously, and I could tell that in that moment he was so proud of me. Oddly enough, he was one of the few teachers I had that made me want to pursue this career. He taught me about history and government and coached me to be the decent golfer I am, but he also taught me how to be a man, he was a second father to me and above all else, he was the guy I came to with everything. Without him, I don’t know how I would’ve turned out after high school. 

Although teaching does come with below-average pay rates and, as sad as it is, the worry of having an active shooter in your classroom, it is also one of the most rewarding professions out there. As an educator, you are with your students more than your own family most of the time- what other job puts you in a position that allows you to have such an impact on someone? That’s what I am passionate about: knowing that I can pour into my future student’s hearts and help them through their difficulties, just like my coach did for me. Those downsides are just an unfortunate aspect of the career, and thankfully many politicians on the state and national level are fighting for those things to change. However, I refuse to let money or the risk of my own safety get in the way of educating, mentoring and giving my life to help the lives of our youth!

In shorter words, I’m trying to say that it is important not to lose yourself in your career choice. It’s okay to not know what you want to do, it’s a huge decision, but make sure that your heart is in it. Ask yourself, “What’s my why?” That one question will tell you mostly everything you need to know. Leading a happy life starts by doing something you love, but first you must find what you cherish doing.