Coming from a family of educators, I have seen the importance of good teachers all of my life.  My parents are both elementary teachers, my dad teaching fourth and fifth and my mom teaching first, and they have both been a huge influence on me to become a teacher.  I have seen the difference a teacher can make on a student and I want to be able to say I have made a difference. 
Everything that is learned up until adulthood is either learned at home or at school, and sadly enough, more and more is having to be learned at school.  Education is the basis of everyone's knowledge, and the foundation of humanity.  The learning progress a student makes will have a extensive effect socially, giving the student more confidence and purpose in the rest of their academic career. 
The difference in each student is what makes them special in their own right.  Because of some of those different backgrounds, the way a teacher relates with each student becomes more important.  A teacher can be a positive role model on every student, especially those in the negative aspects of those backgrounds.  A teacher can turn what some would label a "troubled" or "negative" student into a wonderful student by giving them a chance and someone to look up to.
Teachers have many images cast upon them, and some of the better teachers take on more images than the norm.  A teacher is a role model, a parent figure, a disciplinarian, an inspirer, a challenger, a developer, and in my opinion, most importantly, a teacher is a developer of young minds.  A teacher, especially an elementary teacher, can mold a student for life, both academically and socially.  A teacher has to be respected by their students, and the best way to gain respect is to give respect.  Once a student respects a teacher, they become more apt and willing to learn.
I think teaching will be a challenge, but it appears to be a challenge I want to take on.  I really feel young kids (boys and girls) are needing positive role models more and more, especially a male role model due to the increasing number of fatherless homes.  I think that kids in upper elementary are the most important to mold, and  I think I can make the biggest influence on a kid at that age in their life.  I see all that my dad does as a teacher with that age group and how much it means to those kids, and I want to feel that astonishing feeling of knowing I have made a promising difference in a kid's world.
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Professional Goals
After completing my student teaching at Banner Elk Elementary School, I will be graduating from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education with a Social Science concentration.  Upon graduation, I plan to teach in a North Carolina public school, hopefully in the High Country area near Boone, North Carolina.  After teaching in the classroom for a few years, I intend to obtain my Masters degree, most likely in the area of Mathematics.
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