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My Journey to Teaching

For most of my post-college life, the only headlines I have seen around teaching are about teacher shortages, poor working conditions, kids falling behind, the mass exodus of teachers… and so on. So why would someone like me, in their late 20s, leave behind a stable career in communications to go into teaching?

But the headlines only tell a partial story. Do not mistake me; everything I have mentioned above is entirely true. There is a teacher shortage, some districts have poor working conditions, kids in many parts of the country are behind state standards, and an alarming number of teachers have left the teaching profession. Another part of the story is what I had the privilege to learn about while working as a Content Marketing Manager at iteach, an alternative teaching certification organization.

Empowerment Through Alternative Teaching Certification

Day in and day out, I connected with educators nationwide who received their teaching certification through the organization, and what I learned. Teachers who have taken an alternative route to the profession, usually career changers, feel empowered through the daily impact teaching offers them. They do not sugarcoat it; it is a challenging profession. But they find the reward worth the challenge. After a handful of calls and stories such as these, I found it time to look in the mirror and think about what I want out of my career. 

Re-evaluating Career Goals

Picking what you want to do for the rest of your life at 18 years old does not always reflect your goals and ambitions as you age. I found this to be true for me after multiple jobs in the communications world. I loved telling stories and finding new avenues to creatively get consumers to purchase what I was selling, but I felt a need for more. More connection. More impact. More hands-on work.

I worked with school districts, edtech providers, tutoring companies, and coding academies to tell their stories and share their successes. The through line of my career was education, but I really had nothing to do with it. I was telling the world about all this beautiful work, but I wasn’t doing it. 

So why did I want to become a teacher? Within the last year or so, it has become clear that I want to become a teacher because I see no better way to spend my days. Teaching provides the opportunity to help students, the next generation, to look at and interpret the world for themselves, and I see no greater purpose for myself than that.

Finding Purpose in the Classroom

Reading and writing have been key outlets for me throughout my life to understand myself and the world around me, and I feel it is an honor to provide students with the gift of knowledge of English Language Arts as my teachers did for me. I still think about the lessons I learned in school while traveling the seas with Odysseus, journeying through the streets of NYC with Holden Caulfield, and experiencing the individual impact of war through O’Brien’s personal accounts for the first time. 

As I complete my fourth month of teaching High School English Language Arts, I want to tell all those considering becoming a teacher how much joy I have found from this career! I get to practice in my content area daily and help the next generation see the beauty of language. 

Through this teaching experience, I have found a bright spot every day, which I struggled to do in the monotony of my previous career. Either it is a student who finally grasps a concept we have been working on, and you see that light bulb go off, or a student coming early to class to talk to me about their day because they know I will listen.  

The Importance of Supporting Teachers

I know how new I am to this profession, and some may call me naive, but if we continue to raise the red flag and tell people to avoid teaching, what will be left for our youth? 

According to the CDC, 42% of high school students reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year. We have kids in need, overwhelmed, searching for meaning and kindness in the world. These feelings are not only just an issue for students. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC

Regardless of age, we are all looking for connection and meaning in our lives. Even in my personal experience, I felt lost and wanted to find something that brought joy, passion, and purpose into my life and broke me out of the monotony. Teaching has been that gift to me. Teaching provides that connection and meaning. I hope that the more people share their hopeful stories about the teaching career, the more we will see a new generation of career changers entering the classroom.  

The Role of Alternative Certification Programs

However, as the shortage continues, the government must support teachers, recognize their importance for the well-being of our youth, and implement ways to keep them in the classroom. 

I am grateful to iteach for providing me, and other career changers, with the opportunity to work towards my teaching certificate without having to take on further debt through higher education. Alternative teacher certification programs make it possible for any individual with a bachelor’s degree looking to take their knowledge and apply it differently to get into the classroom. 

Finding a career that empowers me to be a lifelong learner and supports students in reaching their full potential every day has been a gift, and I hope my story can help encourage others to pursue a career in teaching. 

Morgan Greenberg is an English Language Arts teacher in Austin, TX. She worked most of her career in marketing and communications in the edtech industry before transitioning into teaching. 

Morgan hopes to inspire her students to become lifelong readers and writers. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga and spending time in nature, hiking, biking, or camping.

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