I decided I wanted to teach… something… two years after I graduated college.
I kind of avoided accepting it and was quite in denial about it for a while, but when you find what drives you to be better than you were yesterday, or that thing that keeps your creativity going like the Energizer Bunny, you probably should try to pursue it.
I did quite a few jobs before I finally came to the realization that everything was directing me to be an educator. What kind of educator? Who really knew? Well, after a slew of trials and errors in a variety of classrooms in all ages and content, I finally decided on middle school special education.
It has been quite the ride since then, but at the end of the day, it always boils down to completely and ultimately loving the job that I do every day, regardless of all the mishaps, emotional journeys, and frustrations at any given moment of the day. You try to just bring yourself back to why in the world you chose to do this job. My reason was and always will be because of the kids and giving them, who have learning disabilities, the same opportunities they need just like everyone else.
Most days, my job involves a structured routine that ranges from managing kids, teaching, paperwork, counseling, damage control and maybe a meal without students… just maybe though. It’s definitely a job that requires multiple hats. There are a lot of days that are not perfect but then there are days where I’ve cruised through and I’m having a lot of fun teaching, checking things off the list, and feeling like a complete superstar teacher.
On the difficult days, I have been privileged to experience, and to always remind myself, that this job has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that young, hormone-raged, emotional, anxiety driven, student in front of me who probably has missed a couple meals…
Or was up in the middle of the night watching his/her younger sibling…
Or couldn’t go to recess for not completing their homework because they simply couldn’t do it at home with all their distractions…
Or that kid who struggles with reading and paying attention in class because they have a learning disability and no one knows about it, not even their own self.
You get to know each student day in and day out. You learn so much about them; how they learn, why they can’t sit still and what works with that, how they respond to people talking down at them, and why they do certain things that annoy people. It’s the relationship that I’ve been so humbled to make with each student that inspires me during all the not-so-fun-moments of my job.
When it comes to Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s always so humbling and rewarding to get acknowledged for the work that teachers do. There have been so many ways that I’ve seen communities and families encourage and support their teachers. Gifts have been very common and ALWAYS appreciated ☺! One thing that I find super encouraging and supportive is receiving validation from families and students of the hard work that teachers do every day. It’s not always seen or acknowledged but when it is, it’s like every screaming child, crying teen, discouraged kid, winged lesson, and disrupted lesson sort of pays off.