“Why do you do what you do?”

By Gabrielle Saucedo (Wheelock ’19) 

I am a senior at Boston University now, studying English education and teaching English as a second language. But four years ago, when I got my acceptance letter, I caught a lot of grief from my peers.

“Why do you want to be a teacher? You will be poor for life!”

“Why would you spend all that money just to become a teacher?”

I came into school ready to prove all those students wrong, but recent events in our political history have also had me questioning my purpose in a world so full of hate. How can I make a difference? And that line of questioning continued until I was placed in The Amigos School: a English-Spanish Bilingual school in Cambridge, MA.

My time there has given me some clear answers to that scary question: “Why do you do what you do?” I can now give you a solid (and growing) list of answers!

    1. I get to teach them right from wrong. I have been given the opportunity to teach students that not everything they see on the news, or from people in power, is what they should practice in their lives. I have the privilege, and obligation, to be a role model for them in their everyday lives.
    2. I can give students a place to feel safe. The world can be an ugly place, especially for students of color, immigrants, females, English Language Learners, members of the LGBTQ+ community. For some students, the classroom is the only place they feel like their voices are heard. That comes with a lot of responsibility, but it means that teachers have the privilege of gaining students’ trust.
    3. I get to learn everyday. One of the main reasons I became a teacher is because I fell in love with learning. I have learned through my time at Amigos, that as a teacher I will never stop learning. I learn everyday from my students. They constantly surprise me by sharing amazing insights into the material we are studying–things I have never even thought about. And they also teach me many pop-culture references, while laughing at me for being “sus” for not already being “in the know.”
    4. I love what I do! I don’t have to explain this much, but I just want to say that the futures of my students are the reason I get up in the morning. They are a light in a somewhat dark world. They are beautiful, smart, kind, forward-thinking, and I love going to school everyday to see them. They make it worth all the hardships that come with teaching and living in today’s society.

I do what I do for a lot of reasons, and as I continue on my journey of learning and teaching, I am constantly reminded of more reasons. I am so thankful that I did not listen to the questions I faced in high school and continue to face today. I’m proud to be a teacher, and I truly do love what I do.