I will be re-writing this part of my application packet, so I don't mind posting this (now cringe-inducing) essay I wrote as part of last year's application. I love how I mention my attention to detail in a doc full of typos! (Granted, this was a draft, I can only HOPE I fixed the glaring errors before dispatching it.) I can still appreciate my earnestness, though. It's real, even if it sounds like bullshit.
Why I want to teach college
Many graduate students come to teaching without having a clear picture of ways in which it can improve the quality of their own education. As an aspiring writer, there are several aspects of teaching that will enrich not only my master's degree, but also my career. Teaching college level English and writing classes will give me the opportunity to be a part of a quality education for others while expanding my own skills as a writer. Additionally teaching will provide me with a viable career path, which will foster my own growth within my field while contributing in a larger sense to an evolving landscape of writers.
Students enroll in college for a number of reasons: to gain job skills, as a step toward further matriculation, some simply for personal fulfillment. Regardless the reason, they all expect to receive a quality education. My skills and aptitude lend themselves well to teaching and will make a strong member of your teaching staff. I learn quickly, which will be useful when confronted with each new semester's material. As well, through many years in project management and software training positions I have learned how to wrangle and direct complex discussions. My attention to detail and personable nature will help me to find and communicate areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement in student work.
Each student brings a different perspective to class, and a new chance to revisit my own and others' assumptions about writing and literature. Teaching the skills of critical reading and quality writing are one way for the working writer to “sharpen the saw.” In this regard, the role of educator will help me to improve my own writing, enriching my tasks with greater purpose.
As a working writer, teaching at the college level will contribute to my livelihood in two ways. First, teaching is an indispensable skill for anyone whose craft is often dependent on freelance opportunities or the predilections of magazine editors. Second, and more importantly, teaching is another way (in addition to publication) to contribute to the greater conversation about writing and writers. By participating in the education of the next generation of writers, I will be helping to guide and grow the field of competent authors while helping to shape the context in which they write.
One cannot plan one's life simply around making a living. It is undeniable that paying one's bills is an essential part of living in society, but so is making a meaningful contribution. Excellent teachers at all grade levels are an invaluable asset to our education system. My experiences and abilities will provide me with the tools I need to educate, while my passion and long term goals will provide me the drive I need to excel as a teacher.