Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Blessings of Being a Teacher

I have taught High School now for two years. The funny thing is that I always swore to myself that I would NEVER, EVER, EVER EVER teach High School. I had some rough experiences in High School, struggled with some of my teachers, it just was not my most favorite experience- so I promised myself I would never go back to High School, to that kind of atmosphere. High School-ers also scared and intimidated me. I knew they were all going to be bigger than me, they would have attitude problems and hate being at school, so I asked myself, why would I want to work in an environment?! 

But still somehow I ended up teaching High School- to begin with more out of desperation than anything. I got home from my mission in January. When I got home, I got a job as a substitute teacher and began looking for a full time position for the next school year. However, despite all my searching I was not seeing anything that was really catching my attention, either it was too far away or a position that was not for me. However, one of my good friends from grad school knew I was looking for a job. She heard that there was a sudden opening and she asked me if I wanted her to pass my name on to the people interviewing. Within a day, they had called me. They told me that the position was for a resource special education teacher at one of the high schools in their district. For a second, I seriously thought about saying no, what about all the promises I had made to myself. Then the more logistical side of me took control and said you would be an idiot to turn down this opportunity, especially in this economy. You just don't say no when someone asks you interview for a position. I interviewed and the next day they called me and offered me the position. This may not seem like it was out of the ordinary but all this happened the week before school started, so the day they offered me the position, was two days before school started. The next day we had meetings and trainings so I actually didn't even get to see the school or my classroom until the day before school started. I somehow managed to at least get my classroom set up for the kids coming the next day. However, I still really didn't know what I was getting myself into or how to do High School. However, I have come to LOVE my job with ALL my heart. Here are the blessings I have come to see from being a teacher.

1. My kids: Although I am not a mother, I truly have come to view my students as "my kids". I worry about them and care for them. I come home with them on my mind, thinking about what I can do to help them, what they need and how to help them have a successful experience at school. I wake up with them on my mind, excited to see them, excited to teach, excited to see how their day is going, with ideas on what to do for specific students. I have come to know that the quote that says "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care" is SO true. I have come to care so much for my kids because during my High School teaching career thus far, I have learned to push aside the fear that I had about what my kids would be like, them being bigger than me or having attitude problems and have tried to get to know them as a person, and do what I can to show them I care. A lot of these kids have no one to really stand up for them, support them or give them a second chance. I LOVE each day being able to teach them how to express what they need to their teachers, to their bosses etc.....I love being able to help general education teachers "catch the vision" by helping them see those students like I do and helping them think outside the box in how to help their students.

2. My team: Special education is a very collaborative adventure. There are eight teachers that teach special education at my school. We have a lot of the same students in our various classes. We collaborate on what we can do as a team to help those students we all have. Because we spend so much time together we have become very close. I have two best friends, but other than those friends, they are my closest friends. We have gone through so much together and I learn so much from each of their teaching and examples in their own lives that I truly am a better person for being able to work with them.

Basically, I have the best job ever! I won't lie, there are definitely days when I wonder what I've gotten myself into, but that's what makes the funny things my kids say, the moment when something finally clicks with them, spending time with my AWESOME team even more sweet and precious. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else!

Funny quote of the day: One of my students who usually really struggles, was having an AMAZING day, he was following directions, getting his work done, one of the other special education teachers came into my classroom to borrow something, while she was in my room, I told her what an amazing day this student was having and she said, "Way to go, you are a math tiger, roar!!" to which our student said,  "no, I more of a meow", it may or may not have taken me several minutes to recover from laughing so hard!!!