I fought the idea of being a teacher. Why? All things pointed to a teaching career. I loved my magical kindergarten teacher; I pretended I was a teacher at an early age, I loved playing teacher in my mother’s classroom. I knew how hard she worked; I felt the respect for teachers was not what it should be, I wanted more! However, like a magnet, teaching drew me in. Freshman year of college, my mother, the summer school principal, hired me as a teacher. Other summer school teachers thought I was a credentialed teacher; I realized this was within my skill set. Then my college roommate decided to get a teaching credential. I caved. I changed my major and now after 8 years of teaching, I reflect on my teaching journey.
The first couple of years I was consumed with being the perfect teacher; every waking hour was consumed by planning, prepping, perfecting every detail. The teaching obsession was not healthy. Fortunately, during those first couple of years, I had an amazing mentor, who supported me. I cleared my credential with the help of the BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) mentor program. I also had teacher colleagues who shared their ideas with me. But soon my teaching world started crumbling around me. The double whammy in my district was the economy and also declining enrollment. So I moved from one school to another school and then eventually got laid off, even with five years of seniority, tenure and outstanding reviews. This tragic realization came with wounds: lost teacher friends, hurt feelings, loss of innocence around school politics, the realization that everyone is expendable. I had not taken care of myself, put on weight, gave up precious work out time. I was depleted. The stress of moving every year from school to school, from grade level to another grade lever had taken its toll on me. I was depleted. Then fortunately, a new realization took hold, the next district that hired me as a kindergarten teacher had many wonderful qualities, change was good and I learned many things about my self through the forced change. In addition, I realized I rocked as a resilient person, who would not be afraid of change. My students were always the joy of my life. So when my boyfriend decided to take a job two hours away, I decided to interview at a job that would mean I could be near him. And when I was hired, it meant I was starting over AGAIN, new district, no credibility with parents, no teacher friends and going from kindergarten to 5th grade! On the other hand I was teaching the gifted students and only 18 students. The stress accelerated when my mother had surgery and then my father died. I was running on fumes. But I survived. My students took my mind off of the family hardships. I had an amazingly supportive group of teachers at my grade level that looked out for me and supported me through this hard time.
Teaching is not glamorous. I am not here to sugar coat it or be fake with you. I want to make more money, more respect. Teaching pushes all of my buttons. I am a control freak, perfectionist, and competitive person. I hate that a bell dictates my schedule and when I need to go to the bathroom. There have been many times that I question if this is the right profession for me and when can I get out! The politics, test score chasing, and overall bureaucracy make the job overwhelming. Because of layoffs and jumping around I know that I am jaded. Having the opportunity to teach a grade level for more than one year may change my mind completely about teaching! I admit I feel everyone is watching, parents, students, administration, the community, the world, test scores!!!!!!!
(A special sign I had made for my first year of teaching!)
(My first year teaching kinder! My mom helps go through the large book collection. What a treasure...what a job!)
(One of my many moves!)
Sorry for the poor poor poor quality of this photo. Just a little photo fun old school style. Rainforest Open House. I assembled a large Kapok tree in the middle of my classroom. My first Halloween was dressed up as Tacky the penguin. Ahhhhh yes, my old red ford focus. This little sporty car took me to and from work. When I taught my first year of kinder my mom came to school as Zero The Hero's wife for the 100th day of school. Lots of great memories!