It’s hard to believe that this year I’ll start my 10th year of teaching. It seems like just yesterday I was starting my first year of teaching! As strange as it sounds I never thought I would be a teacher. When I left to attend Marshall University I was planning on becoming a nurse. I was given a harsh reality check though when I applied to the nursing program at Marshall University. I was rejected not just once, but twice. In all my life up to that point I really had never dealt with a reality check that harsh or ego crushing. It was depressing, to say the least. I started to question everything. After a lot of thinking (and crying) I figured I could either keep trying to become a nurse (and most likely deal with a lot more disappointment and wasted time) or I could suck it up and try and find something else to do with my life. I visited the career services department at school and after talking with some people decided to become a teacher. I mean it kind of made sense. I liked working with kids. Teacher had summers off and holidays. Easy right? No. I like so many others thought teachers had it easy. Thankfully teaching was something that came easy for me, it was just something that was innate. It’s a little ironic though… I HATE public speaking (with a passion) but when I am in front of a class of kids I LOVE it. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. I guess it’s true when they say some teachers are made and some are just born teachers. Now don’t get me wrong. I still dread Back to School night when I have to give a 30 min presentation to the parents about class policies and procedures. I usually fly through my 30 min presentation in 15 mins, just to get through it.
As much as I love teaching the longer I am a teacher the more discouraged I am becoming. It makes me sad to see how the education system has changed, in just 10 years. The amount of paperwork that is required has tripled in just the past 5 years. And I’m not one to shy away from hard work. Those that know me know I put 110% into teaching. I volunteer my time before school, after school, on Saturdays, etc. and put hundreds, if not thousands of dollars into my classroom and supplies. With all the state and federal regulations that are being put into place the more we are shifting our time and resources AWAY from students instead of focusing it ON them. Imagine what it would be like if we fully funded our public school system AND let teachers just teach? Perhaps we’d have a fighting change against Finland and China’s students in our global world. Why are teachers pressured to teach to the middle? Why are teacher’s pay increases being tied to student test scores? It’s ridiculous. But as frustrated as I get with teaching I always think of the kids. To see a child learn something is like no other feeling. It’s magical. It’s hard to describe. I find it amazing to know that I can have that big of an impact on the future. I remember all of my teachers (good and bad). I hope that my students will remember me, and will remember what I taught them. Being a teacher at the same school for 10 years I’ve been lucky to teach a few siblings from the same family and form relationships with families. My greatest wish is that I inspire greatness in my students.