Monday, April 08, 2013

Day Five: My Dream Job

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I did.  Got some stuff done that I needed to take care of, and that's always good.

I'm up to day five of my thirty days of random blog posts.  Today's topic is My Dream Job and Why?

Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to surprise anyone when I tell them that my dream job is and has always been to be a teacher.  And, in August of last year I finally reached my dream job destination.  It was a long hard battle to get where I am right now, but worth every single minute.

So, my dream job is to teach...and I'm doing that... but why a teacher?  What about teaching was my calling, if you will?

Well, I know I've told the story before of first deciding when I wanted to be a teacher.  That happened when I was five.  Back then, the reason I wanted to be a teacher was because I absolutely adored my teacher.  She was my first teacher, and what should have probably been a scary and painful transition from being at home to being in a classroom all day wasn't at all.  In fact, I loved every single minute of it.  So much so that the minute I walked through the door getting home, I neatly arranged all of my dolls and stuffed animals and began to recreate my day at school for all of them.

I remember the smell of my teacher - coffee and Poison perfume, I remember her Welsh accent, I remember walking in to the classroom every morning and soaking in the sights and the sounds.  And from that moment on, I just knew that one day I would be a teacher.

Growing up, I had many wonderful teachers...not all but most of my teachers had some impact on my life.  Some taught me how I wanted to be, some taught me how I never wanted to be.  But all kept my heart burning with the desire to one day have my own classroom and my own students.

As I grew, my reasons for wanting to teach started to change.

I remember going through phases where I wanted to be a teacher just so I could grade papers.  That moved on to being able to read aloud to students.  And then I wanted to teach them math.  Then I had a long term sub that taught us all about Australia (where she was from) and I was fascinated with being able to do silly things like dress up and take kids on journeys without ever leaving the classroom.

And then, one day in my early twenties it all just kinda jumbled together and I realized I wanted to do all of those things and so much more.  I wanted to help students, nurture them, provide hope and desires, support and encouragement to follow their dreams.  Being a teacher was so much more than just standing in front of them and teaching them - it was about being to those kids what my teachers were for me:  Their foundation and support for their future.

Once I enrolled in college, I had my heart set on being an elementary teacher.  That reason came from wanting to have a class full of kids all day long - so that I could connect with them on a deeper level and so that I could teach all subject areas.  I knew that I wanted to teach higher than 1st grade but lower than 5th grade.  But that was about as far as I went with my "perfect classroom".  In all honesty, it really didn't matter a bit what type of kids I taught or where they came from...just as long as I could teach.

I got to observe in several different schools.  I got to observe and work with many different kids from many different backgrounds.  I worked with kids from higher income families and low income families, white kids, Hispanic kids, Indian kids, black kids, Asian kids.  Each group of students bringing a different point of view to the teaching world.

It wasn't until after graduating from college and getting my job as a teaching assistant that I realized the type of school I really wanted to work in.  And that would be a lower income, highly diverse school.  Why?  Because those kids had a whole different level of needing and wanting an education.  And a whole different realm of needs that came from a teacher.  That's why I truly believe I got the teaching position I did.  No, it wasn't in the school that opened my eyes to wanting to teach that population of kids - but a school very much like it, if not more so.

Each and every day I get to be a teacher but I also get to be a mother, a friend, a counselor, a disciplinarian, and a dream maker.  I get to grade tons of papers, I get to read to them aloud, I get to teach them math, and I can take them on many, many journeys right there from our classroom.  And the icing on the cake?  I get to help them believe that anything is possible with a little hard work.  I get to show them how important and fun an education can be.  AND, I get to learn just as much from them as they do from me.

At the beginning of this school year, I was given the privilege of working with a large group of kids that are considered to be "below grade level".  I suppose my job was to try my best to get them up to grade level, but working with these kids made me realize it wasn't about me getting them there... it was all about getting them to believe they should be there.  And for the most part, I've done a pretty darn good job of it.

I have kids in my class that walked in on day one hating to read.  Now?  I have a class full of kids that beg for silent reading time or for me to read to them.  They get engaged in novel studies and enjoy discussing and answering questions about the books they've read.  I have kids that hated math... but just needed a nudge in the right direction and some real world application to see the point of needing to know math.  I'm no magic maker by any means.  Not all kids will leave my classroom at the "level" they're supposed to be, but most now darn well want to be there...something that many of my kids were lacking on day one.  Being below grade level and making bad grades were about as important to many of these kids as deciding what to eat for breakfast.  Not so much anymore.  I have kids that have grown leaps and bounds in their abilities..and even more so in their desires.  They want it...bad...and will work their tails off to get it.

I get to teach kids that it's not about what others think of them, it's ultimately what they think of themselves.  What they believe they can achieve, and helping them get there any way I can.

And that is the reason I wanted to and became a teacher.


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