Teachers Who Didn’t Plan To Be Teachers

Co-Editor Denesha Dean followed Mr. Smith, Ms. Baskin, and Mr. Haller in an effort to find out why they became teachers.


Photo By: Claudia Quiroz

Mr. Haller

Some teachers initial intention was not to teach. It wasn’t because they were out of options or the fabulous pay. It was their love for teaching kids. Many of us don’t think about teachers who actually love their job, because whenever we hear about the jobs of teachers, it sounds tedious. But their job wasn’t meant for glamor. It was meant to be a way of doing something they love.

Mr. Smith is a first year art teacher at Judson. Although, this is not his first year teaching, as Smith has been a teacher for the Judson ISD for five years. “Teaching is something I’ve always done, even if it may have not always been in a classroom,” Smith said. Being an art director, teaching his kids about life, coaching little league baseball, training people at the gym, all are things that have inspired him to become a teacher. But was this always the case?

Mr. Smith spent ten years and more than $42,000 to get his degree in advertising, not in teaching. Smith has two associates’ degrees, one bachelor’s degree, and has attended San Antonio College, Phoenix Institute of Technology, and Texas State.

With all the time and money spent going to college to become an advertiser, Smith doesn’t regret any of it. His only regret is not enjoying college as much as he wanted to, due to working a full time job and being a full time student. But in the end, it paid off. Not only did he not have any debt after college, Smith was able to start his own business in advertising.

While running his business on the side, Smith’s main focus is teaching, and has no other career plans for later on in life. When Smith got received his current position, he felt he landed his dream job. Even when everything has gone wrong, he can wake up the next day and want to come back. That’s when he knows he’s doing something right. “If you’re happy doing what you’re doing, then you know that’s where you belong. This is where I belong,” Smith says.


Mrs. Baskin is a freshman English teacher that has spent 32 years of her life teaching: 22 of those years have been in Judson ISD, and 20 of those years have been taught at Judson High School.

Baskin always knew she wanted to teach. That’s what she went to college for. But the odd thing is, teaching English was never something she thought she would be doing. She spent four years and about $10,000 on college, obtained her bachelor’s of science, and took some classes in coaching and health, but never was being an English teacher on her to do list.

For Baskin, it was never really a question that required much thought. Baskin grew up in a family of teachers; it’s something she’s always been around. Largely inspired by her father, Baskin originally went to college to become a coach, and she even coached for 25 years. It wasn’t until 1998 that she decided to become an English teacher.

Baskin has been teaching for almost 16 years in a subject she never thought she would teach. Surly this is cause for some regret. But Mrs. Baskin doesn’t see it like that. Even though her original degree no longer applies to what she is currently teaching, Baskin is living by the motto: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Baskin wants to make a difference in kids’ lives; sometimes she does this by providing a strict structure. Baskin says she doesn’t mind being called mean, as long as everybody knew she was equal and fair. Baskin believes “Judson is the place to be”, as Judson High School is among some of the “elite schools” in Texas. Her job is not only to teach kids the curriculum for English, but to also prepare them for life. She says, “being a teacher is the hardest job you’ll ever love.”


Mr. Haller is an Algebra 2 teacher who is fairly new to teaching, with only three years of experience. Haller didn’t go to college to become an Algebra 2 teacher. Six and a half years and about $50,000 all went towards becoming an engineer. (Five years if you don’t count the first year he tried to major in music.) Haller spent six and a half years before realizing that although he was good at engineering, his “heart wasn’t in it.”

For two years, he did mechanical engineering. For three years, he did electrical engineering. He even had a job set with Toyota if he nailed the interview. But it wasn’t until he stepped back and looked at his life that he realized being an engineer was something he “didn’t want to do.”

Haller always wanted to teach, but with his family telling him becoming a teacher was a big mistake, Haller decided otherwise. When attending UTSA, Haller founded a fraternity. He had to teach his peers about the way things worked. He eventually found that he liked teaching.

Haller doesn’t regret anything, and wants to be a teacher until he retires. Haller says he found he was more willing to encourage kids to become an engineer, and liked the math and science aspect of things. But he admitted actually become an engineer would have been “depressing.” Haller says whatever you do, you “have to have it in your heart,” and what Mr. Haller has in his heart is his love for teaching.

Sitting down with these teachers and hearing their stories on how it all began has been an experience. To be a good teacher, you have to be in it for the right reasons, and these three teachers I’ve interviewed, I believe, are in it for the right reasons. They all agree that teachers don’t make a lot of money given what their job calls for. But they also agree that this is the job they signed up for and they wouldn’t want it any other way.