Since I graduated from college, my dream was to be a teacher. After the suggestion of an amazing mentor, my track towards inspiring others began. But being a military wife postponed that dream for many years.
4 years ago, I finally got the opportunity to finish my dream. After many hours of observations, numerous nights of studying, my probationary license was in hand. To say the first year of teaching was the hardest was an understatement. In April, I was invited to long term sub for the position I was taking over in August. I was so excited to jump right in to teaching. But the dream was short lived…..
I was sure the first day I was going to get fired. Fight that turned into destruction in 1st period, kids were leery of someone else coming in at the end of year, and I was completely crushed. That night I went home and cried wondering if I was in over my head. An AP helped me get things squared away with a fresh restart and then by the end of May, the kids were grateful I had been there for them when nobody else would step up to the plate.
My 1st year was eventful with many kids making an impact on me that I will never forget, but when an opportunity opened up for me to work closer to home, I had to jump on it. I currently was driving 76 miles round trip everyday which was putting a strain on things. I cried the day I went into give my resignation, but I had to do what was best for my family.
Year 2 was crazy, new school and I was switched over to ISS during the year. I taught Biology during the morning and assisted with ISS in the afternoon. At first I was not happy! But after a few weeks, I learned to love the challenge and enjoyed the people I got to work along side. My 3rd year finished on a high note.
Year 3….lets just say I am back to questioning whether this job is for me. I have some hard kids this year and even though this isn’t my first rodeo working with them, it takes an emotional toll on me. It is hard to teach when the kids basic needs are required to be met first, when you have to tend to the behavior before the notes, when the paperwork overwhelms you and you work late into night differentiating instruction for your 100 plus students.
I don’t want special recognition for what I do, but I would like society to realize what us teachers do is important and to stop degrading our hard work. Yes we get summers off, but not all teachers get paid through the summer. Many work second and third jobs just to put food on the table and then there are those encased in numerous professional developments that we don’t get paid for, but are required to take for our continuing hours for our license. Our summers are never FREE.
We see kids for 8 to 9 hours a day and try to do the best we can with what we are provided by the state, which most the time isn’t even remotely enough. I don’t know a teacher who doesn’t spend their hard earned money in there classroom to buy supplies, food, and even clothes.
But even when I question is this my purpose, one of my kids will come up and do something that makes me grateful I am a teacher. See this job is a love/hate relationship. We have good weeks and bad weeks, successes and failures, triumphs and let downs, wins and loses.
But everyday we get up, head to work and wonder how we will change the world today. And when one of our old students comes back to say thank you, we know our purpose.