7.24.2012

My Teacher Story

My teacher story isn't that exciting, but it's my story nonetheless.  I knew in second grade that I was going to be a teacher.  In first grade, I said I was going to be TV wire repairperson, but that's just because I liked the picture of the girl hanging from the pole with wires!  But, from second grade on, whenever anyone asked, I was going to be a teacher.  And I went forward with that thought from that moment on.

In elementary school (where I actually taught for 6 years until they closed it in 2008), I would help in the library and help my teachers in class when I was done with work.  In high school, I was a TA for 2 years, though I never wanted to teach high school.  I just liked doing things the teachers did.  I held out and didn't take typing, much to my mom's dismay and TA'd instead.  During my senior year, during the apply for college time, I had many people try to dissuade me from applying where I did, telling me I should go to a junior college, telling me I shouldn't be a teacher.  Were these people nuts?  Looking back, I wasn't the top notch student, but I wasn't a dummy, either.  I got OK grades when I tried, but I didn't love high school.  It was something I had to do to get from point A to point B.  And, I wasn't going to USC or a fancy school like that, so I didn't need to be the top of the class.  In fact, my counselor thought I must be one step up from a rock because she placed me in college prep English as opposed to Advanced, Honors or even AP English.  I was in an English class with students who had been failed by the education system.  The QB of our football team couldn't read!  The one time (yes, I said one!) we had to read from the textbook, the QB couldn't get through one sentence.  It was sad how far he had made it in school without being successful.  But, he was the QB, so what were they gonna do about it?  BTW, our football team sucked, so it didn't matter!  Anyway, the English "teacher" told me that I was "stupid" for going into teaching and why would I pick a job like that? Mind you, that person is still teaching!

In my mind, the only choice I had for college was a 4 year college for education.  I applied to 2 schools - Northern Arizona University and Cal State San Bernardino.  CSUSB was my back up school just in case.  NAU was my number 1 and only choice.  So, right after high school, I went to NAU and started my journey to teaching.  And, because NAU is/was one of the better colleges for education, I was in the right place!





I started my "advanced" education in 94 and graduated with my BS in Elementary Education in 98!  During my student teaching time in AZ, I began applying feverishly for teaching jobs in So Cal.  I was a California native and wasn't planning on staying in AZ.  And besides, the pay was way better at home than in AZ.  I applied to way too many districts, hoping someone would want me.  I interviewed at NAU for Las Vegas, just for practice.  I graduated at the beginning of May (May 9, 1998 to be exact) and came home and interviewed in my district where I grew up and signed my contract 4 days later on May 13, 2 weeks before I turned 22!  

When I interviewed with the principal at the school at the time (whom I never worked for), the only questions he asked me was if I wanted a job.  Um, yes please!  He didn't know the grade level, but told me 1, 2, or 3 with a possibility of Kinder.  Oh good gravy!  I wanted 3rd since that's what I student taught, but would have been happy with 2nd.  Please, no Kinder or 1st!  Well, I got 1st grade and told myself I could change later.  Ha!  15 years later, I am still in first grade and I love it!  I know it, I love teaching the little guys how to read and I love just being able to teach them something new and learning new things to teach them as well.  

In my time teaching, I have gone from being single to married, from being the 2 of us to the 3 of us, I have taught at 3 schools, have had about 350 kids come in and out of my room, have had 8 administrators, we are going on our 4th superintendent in the district.  I have seen class size go from 20 to more than that, have seen curriculum change more than I'd like it to and have felt the rising pressure of testing.  But, through it all, I have never thought of doing anything else.  I was destined to teach, as my mom says, and couldn't see myself doing anything else.  


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