Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A (Slightly) Unconventional Path

My career path turned out to be a little different than the standard path. I'd like to share it to give you a bit more background about me.

I knew after a couple of years at a junior college that I wanted to teach. I KNEW it was the perfect profession for me. I loved kids and I loved learning and school, so what else could I possibly be satisfied doing? I began to pursue my Bachelor's in Human Development and a Multiple Subject Credential and was hired a couple months after receiving my credential in a town about two hours north of my hometown.

I was hired to teach 3rd grade, which was my preferred grade, and I spent the summer buying all the cutesy things I thought I needed to be a great teacher. I started teaching at a low income school in August 2007 and, though there were ups and downs, I LOVED it! Fast forward six weeks. Our enrollment numbers weren't great, so I was moved to a different school to teach. Kindergarten. I was...anxious, to say the least. Luckily, everything else went swimmingly after that. My Kinder team were absolute angels and took such great care of me. Look at this gorgeous standards-based (HA!) dress your own turkey project!


I made it through Kinder somehow and was offered a third grade position at the end of the year. I thought everything was fine. I had challenges and was learning from them. My principal and I didn't see eye to eye on everything, but I'm not a troublemaker and I kept my head down. 



At the end of my second year of teaching, I was let go, along with several other teachers from my school. Most of us were in our first or second year of teaching. No real reason or explanation was given to us and it was a shock. Aside from the professional disappointment, my principal said several things in our final meeting that haunt me to this day. They were personal attacks and could not be considered constructive criticism. Most importantly, they were completely untrue. The most hurtful (and the sentiment that runs through my head in times of doubt) was that she was most concerned because I didn't have a relationship with my kids.


I was floored.

Is there anything more painful for a teacher to hear than that?

After the end of the year, I returned home to San Diego and to the job I'd had before teaching: working in the business office of a car dealership. To keep this portion of the story short, let me just say it was not the environment for me. I don't belong in the corporate world, but I stayed for four years because I bought into the idea that I couldn't teach. That I couldn't form relationships with kids.


In July of 2013, I was aching to get back into education. I began to apply for every office job in a school that was posted. I knew I wouldn't teach again, but since I wanted to be back in a school and my background was in an office, I figured that would be a great fit.

I got a response from a little K-8 charter in San Diego a couple of hours after I applied. I went in for a first interview and a second interview. I got hired and I fell in love. I have never in my life been around such warm, caring, energetic, positive people. Never not ever. This was my home. This was where I belonged.

I plugged away at my job, kicking butt in my office duties. Then, after a series of crazy events, I ended up teaching Middle School English for our school's final trimester last year. This year, I'll be in a third grade classroom again.

You guys, I'm tearing up as I type this. Things happen for a reason. If I hadn't been let go in 2009, I never would have left that district. I wouldn't be back in San Diego. I wouldn't be married to my love. We wouldn't have our perfectly imperfect puppy. I wouldn't be so close to my family and my dearest friends.

I wouldn't be where I belong.
At a wonderful school.

Full of bright, shiny, charismatic teachers.

Teaching again in a 3rd grade classroom!

Forming lasting relationships with kids.

Dawn

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