10 October 2014

Why I Became a Teacher

As a child there would two things I'd always pretend to be, a pediatric doctor or a teacher.  Eventually I found myself setting up my stuffed animals, or conning my little brother, to play teacher.  I would make math worksheets and grade their work with red pen and stickers. I've gotten a few "Perfect Attendance" acknowledgements over the years and honestly enjoyed going to school.

When it was time for me to extend my education I went into nursing for the first two semesters of college, then I realized I'm not good with science on that level and very queasy when it came to blood.  I was not passionate about my learning at that time and only went into nursing because it was what my mother wanted me to do.  Then one semester I decided, after a talk with a friend, to just try an Intro to Education course (and a few more education pre-requisites) to see if I would like it.

I ended up truly enjoying myself and feeling amazingly passionate about my education at this stage.  I went through with changing my major to Elementary Education, and my parents saw how determined and focused I was and supported me.  All the courses were fun, engaging, and a true learning experience.  I never breezed through any of my education courses.  I stayed focused and determined to get the most out of each course because I truly wanted to learn as much as I could.

Let's be honest, the MOST experience and knowledge you'll gain is from being in the classroom.  I had the best internship and a wonderful supervising teacher who encouraged me to do what I felt was right for the classroom and pushed me to do better than I thought I could.  I was nervous in the beginning of my internship, but I quickly felt completely comfortable leading the class.  She ensured me at how natural and passionate I was and that I should be confident in what I do.

After graduation I spent 2-3 years between substitute teaching, being a nanny/tutor for a family, and working at a summer camp.  Finally, I was hired as a temporary teacher to take over a maternity leave for two consecutive terms (half a school year).  This got my foot in the door into being hired through the county.  Then my supervising teacher got me an interview at my internship school for the next year, and I was hired as a 2nd grade teacher.  (I definitely feel like she got me hired because I felt so nervous during the interview and thought I bombed it.)

I spend the next 4 years teacher 2nd grade for a year and then moving to 3rd grade.  I was nervous about teaching 3rd grade in Florida because it was the start of standardized testing for students. This was where I was meant to be though.  I felt I could connect with the students at that age and create engaging lessons that properly challenged each individual.

Teaching is something I honestly feel is my true calling in life.  I have other hobbies and obsessions that often came and went, but my teaching passion has never went away and only grew stronger over the years.  I thought the pressure of standardize testing from the county and state level, but I always kept my spirits up and just focused on the students and their needs.

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