I read somewhere recently that a job is what you do, not who you are.
I have to say I disagree with that. I am a teacher. Yes that is my job, and yes that is what I do. But I also believe being a teacher is a HUGE part of who I am as well.
I think Taylor Mali says it best with: What Teachers Make
Does that mean I am ONLY a teacher no. I am also a wife, a daughter, a friend, a cousin, a niece, and so much more.
From time to time I often think about destiny. Are we all put along a path in life, a series of events that are predetermined to happen? Or are we given a series of choices along the way that depending on what we chose could change or alter our life path, and then by extension our life?
I’d like to think that I have free choice in my life. That I my life is not set in stone. But on the flip side it’s scary to think my actions (or inactions) could dramatically or drastically change my life.
I like to think that we are all put on this earth for some reason. It may be to invent something, become president, etc. I hope that I am able to make a difference in this world in some way. Teaching for me, seems to be the way I am destined to leave my mark on the world. Which isn’t a bad thing. To teach is to hopefully change the world one student at a time.
There are few things in the world that I hold as dear as education. Education truly does have the ability to change the world, more specifically your life. I honestly do not understand those that do not value education. In America (for the most part) education is free. As a public school teacher my career and livelihood depends on education. I love to see learning take place. There are few things in the world that rivals when I guide a student into accomplishing what they once thought was impossible. It’s crazy for teachers to meet unrealistic goals in schools that are falling apart, underfunded, and overcrowded… yet somehow teacher do it. Imagine if we fully funded schools, cut back on the over regulating of school policoes, and gave teachers the opportunity to teach. Think of the things we could accomplish…
For the past few months I’ve been interviewing on and off again to try and find another school to teach at for the upcoming school year. If I don’t find another school this year will be the 10th year as a teacher at my current school (Herndon ES). I’ve taught 2nd grade for 6 years and will have taught 5th grade for 4 years (counting this year).
While at Herndon ES there have been many ups and downs, but it seems like there is more and more cons to the job the longer I’m at this school. It’s frustrating to feel the tension in the air at work. It is palpable. People are so on edge and high strung that I think it’s starting to affect the students. I’ve never dreaded going to work as much as I have this past year. Towards the end of the year it was so bad that I wasn’t really sleeping that much. I’m frustrated with those that are able to skate by doing the bare minimum (or less). I’m angry with those that do NOT do what is expected of them, and the rest of us are punished or penalized due to it. Needless to say I am SO ready for a change of scenery. I don’t think that changing schools will solve all problems. but it couldn’t hurt right?
I am sad that many of my coworkers who I’ve become friends with are leaving the school (due to teaching jobs at different schools or moving out of state). As hopeful as I am that I will find a new teaching position somewhere else I am realizing I SUCK at interviewing. I have a TON of experience and knowledge, but during interviews just seems to clam up. I am not one to tout my accomplishments or draw attention to myself. I wish I could just tell interview panels, “I’m a really great teacher! Really!” I don’t know if I can deal with another year at my current school. It may break me.
So, fingers crossed. I have one interview tomorrow afternoon and another next week sometime. Hopefully one of them will pan out!
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.