Jeffrey ColeI didn’t want to become a special education teacher. In fact, the last career I ever wanted to pursue was education. I viewed teaching as a vocation not worthy of my lofty expectations of success in the well-respected fields of law or business.

Fast forward to the present, and I am sitting at the 2012 Teachers College graduation at Columbia University, waiting to receive my second master’s degree. The guest speaker is explaining a quote by Horace Mann — “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” — and I’m beginning to realize the irony of my career choice.

“It’s official,” I thought to myself. “I’m a lifer. I love teaching. This is crazy!”

Why do I love teaching so much? Why did I want to pursue education after so vehemently opposing this career? As a young African-American male, I had many other distractions. Frankly, I did not make this choice consciously. Teaching chose me.

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