The future depends on teachers

By Max Freedman '17

Tags opinion

“So, Max, what are your plans after graduation?” We all know that dreaded question. After all, I’ve been avoiding graduation for four long years. There are countless things I’ll miss—ski racing, my fraternity brothers, trivia Tuesdays and my art studio. But now, as family members prod about my plans, my anxiety has finally dwindled. I can proudly answer that I’m going back to school, but this time as the teacher. 

As a student at Hamilton College, I’ve been very involved in our campus community as well as the surrounding New York community. Last year, I volunteered at the Clinton Middle School, working with students in an after school art program. As captain of the Hamilton ski team, I’ve competed all over the Northeast, connecting with other student athletes on the slopes. Over our winter breaks I use my expertise on the slopes to coach children in Vermont. It wasn’t until these experiences working with students that I started to see the power and centrality of an excellent education. 

Hamilton gave me the opportunity to take challenging classes and surround myself with people and activities that pushed my thinking. I want to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone after I graduate. I want to jump head first into a career that will give me an opportunity to have an immediate impact. That’s why I chose to become an elementary school teacher in Connecticut with Teach For America. 

I believe that a classroom is a powerful place for social change. When I think about the social issues I’m most passionate about, I’ve come to realize that there’s no better place to tackle them head-on than in the classroom. After all, education is the most powerful tool at our disposal to disrupt inequity and create opportunity. 

As a corps member, I know I’ll face incredible challenges as I tackle complex and systemic issues. But I also know that my experiences on campus—running student organizations and leading workshops—have equipped me to take on these obstacles on behalf of my students. As a classroom leader, I’ll continue to shape my values and beliefs, find my voice as a leader, and more clearly define the impact I want to make on the world. 

I look forward to creating a community with my students, full of pride and school spirit, and I can’t wait to bring what I’ve learned here into my classroom to help shape my students’ futures. Hamilton has given me exposure to a diversity of thought while fostering a great sense of community. I can think of no better place to pass forward those values than on the front lines of a classroom. 

I’m excited to start my path as a leader in a different kind of classroom —one where I’ll be able to impact the lives of the next generation as a teacher. The classroom is where I’ll have the opportunity to make a positive change in a community I’ll call my new home for the next years. 

So as you consider which path you will forge after graduation, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. We all have to leave Hamilton someday, but I can think of no greater privilege than helping the next generation of students.

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