Most of us know from a young age what we want to do when we grow up and enter the adult world. At 17 or 18, we graduate from high school and begin to embark on the journey that we choose to take.
Then there are those of us who wind up on a completely different path from the one we planned for ourselves. At 18 years old, I graduated at the top of my class and knew I wanted to go to college but didn’t quite know what I wanted to do. I came from a family of nurses, so in my mind that was the best way to go. I loved working with and being around children, and I thought nursing was the best way to fulfill that dream.
Then life happened and I had my first child at 19 years old. That reality changed everything I thought I knew. My son was three months premature and spent the first three months of his life in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit). After watching the care that my son was given by his nurse practitioner, I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Then life happened again, and I found myself married and, within a few more years, with another child. By then my son was starting his school years, and I had begun to see that he was having a hard time in school. I had started teaching my children at a young age so that they would be ready for pre-K and kindergarten, but none of us is perfect. I worked harder with my son so that he would be where he needed to be.
One day a good friend of mine saw how I was taking the time and patience to work with my son, and she encouraged me to become a teacher. The thought had crossed my mind from time to time, especially when I had my second child, but I had not strayed from my original path. The thought of being able to impact someone else’s life and helping them grow through teaching them what I knew thrilled me. So in 2014, after much thinking and a lot of prayer, and after getting to my last semester of prerequisites for nursing, I decided to pursue a career in teaching. I was happy that I would not only get to work with children but also be able to use my new skills to further help my own children.
I am very excited about the path that I have chosen and about the endless possibilities that lie ahead. I graduate in May 2017 with my bachelor’s in education. I will be certified in early childhood through sixth grade. Once I have completed that, I will go back for my master’s to pursue a career as a principal, and soon thereafter, I will go back for my doctorate and become a superintendent!
Becoming an educator has helped me see that I am a leader. It just took the right avenue for me to be able comfortably show those skills. The sky is the limit and the opportunities are endless. I have learned that to achieve my dreams, I must sit down and write out a plan and, once that plan is written, follow through with it.
My children have been my biggest motivation for pursing my career. I see so much growth not only in them but also in myself.
It has not always been easy, but throughout everything I have stayed in faith. If I can impact just one life, I will know that I have done my job.
Cierra Griffin is a student at Texas Southern University.
Photo: Cierra Griffin (left) with fellow Texas Southern University ATPE members Daniel Richardson, Amy Pearson, and Taylor Hicks.
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