Still Growing Up

Wonder Woman.  Barbie.  Belinda Carlise (after she was a Gogo when she had her solo career).  Madonna.  Joan Jett.

What in the world do any of those things have to do with each other?  Well clearly they were all things I pretended to be at some point in my childhood.  They were the answer to my inner question of what kinds of things interested me enough to want to BE that thing/person.

Once school started I answered that question with anything from a telephone operator (because I like to push buttons), to a lawyer (I talk a lot and so do lawyers, right?), or maybe a best-selling author, although I could be an actress too.  By the end of my senior year I just didn’t know WHAT I wanted to do.

One day, during fifth period British Literature senior year we were discussing the novel 1984 by George Orwell.  Right in the middle of a particularly great conversation, I paused, looked at my teacher and said,

“THIS. This right here.”

him: “what?  what are you talking about?”

me: “This is what I want to do.  I want to read, talk about the books I read, and get paid to do it.  What is that?  What job is that?”

him:  “Um, my job.  Apparently you just decided to be an English teacher.  Can we finish talking about Winston, now?”

me:  “oh.  right.  yeah.”

And that was it.  I applied to Western Michigan University, one of the top teacher education schools in the US, and the rest is history.

I’d love to tie a neat little bow on that and call that the end, but it’s really not.  I look back on all those things that made up what I loved to pretend to be and what I thought I wanted to do.  They all have qualities that I value that I think are still shaping what I will be “when I grow up.”

Wonder Woman, Barbie, Belinda Carlise, Madonna, and Joan Jett were all women who were individual who did things that they wanted to do.  And people who didn’t agree with what they did?  Well they got the middle finger.  Even Barbie broke gender barriers and became a doctor back in the 80’s!

The professions I thought I wanted make sense with this too.  Even a telephone operator.  Let’s face it, I spend a LOT of my day pushing buttons.  I mean even right now…tappity tappity!  And to me, lawyers and actresses really aren’t that different.  They need to put on shows that will win something for someone even if it’s just winning someone’s attention for 90 minutes.  I do that now as a teacher, but as a writer here, I have to sing and dance and use my words to make you want to come back for more.

And a best-selling author?  While I might not be making any money (in fact, I SPEND money to do this), I am selling.  I’m selling myself and my story to you.  For comments.  Let’s face it.  If no one responded to this little old blog?  I probably would have quit long ago.

So I teach.  I write.  And I am still growing up.  And I still think Joan Jett is totally bad ass.

This post was written in response to the Bloggy Moms July Blog challenge:  Childhood Ambitions.  To read more entries in this challenge, please go here.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. You're one of the lucky ones… figuring out your dream so young. I''m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

  2. awesome how you found what you wanted to do like that!!

    and you opened up my eyes to bloggy moms monthly challenges. very cool!!

    and i would've quit long ago too, if no one read my blog

  3. Good morning lovely lady! I just wanted to let you know there is some bloggy love for you over at my place. 🙂

  4. That's really is cool that you have known what you want at an early age 😀
    Btw, if you got a book published, can I get an autograph? 😉

  5. Lawyer? Actress? I wanted to be both. I sort of wanted to be a rock star, too. But, English teacher it is! And this is what I love.

  6. Garcia Family says

    That's so cool that you knew what you wanted to be in high school! I don't think I ever had an "a-ha" moment like that to become a teacher, but I just always was one. It just took me until middle of sophomore year to figure it out! I'd LOVE to be in an English class with you, and I'm not a huge lit fan (sorry, please don't hate me, but it's the truth!).

  7. makemommygosomethingsomething says

    I love that you blog and I love reading it…it's kind of like getting the newspaper only I don't pay you to read it…LOL. But I would if I had to cause you rock mah socks!


  8. missy widener says

    if you teach half as good as you write, well then, your students are going to BE the next joan jett. (because really, she IS the president. of cool chick rock and roll that is…)

  9. Oh, I love this post. If I could do it all over, I'd want to make the same decision you made: read, teach, write, read, teach, write. I'm so glad you're happy doing what you're doing. Your students are lucky to have you, because I'm sure your passion for teaching speaks loudly.

  10. Mungee's Ma says

    I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up 🙁 I have to go back to work soon, so I better figure something out!

  11. Mrs. Dreamer says

    Pretty little Miranda introduced me to you via twitter (Hi, I'm Isha!), and I realize how much we have in common!
    I was born and raised in Michigan, as was my husband. He's from just outside of East Lansing (O-town, as it is fondly known) and I am from Westland. We both went to U of M, but we love the Broncos 🙂
    I share your passion for books and talking about them, and it is also what led me to teaching. However, don't you wish it was that easy? Ugh. Especially out here in CA, there is so much red-tape budget crisis craziness that some days its hard to remember what I'm doing in front of these kids. But either way, I'm excited to read about your journey!