Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gotta Have Faith every time I check my yahoo account it's filled with emails like, "Need a New Career?" or "CareerSearch." And earlier I was speaking to Matthew and he suggested I become a nurse--and at the exact same time he spoke the sentence my eyes fell upon the word, "nurse." A coincidence? Maybe, or maybe not. I'm not looking for a "new" career, but instead, trying to find my old one.
After five years of collegiate study, and yes, many great times, I was thrilled with my decision to become a teacher. I decided after an internship at Timothy Elementary in a third grade classroom that this was what I wanted to do with my life. It was a real light bulb moment. I had no idea I could have so much fun helping kids learn AND get paid for it! So, armed with my Bachelor's Degree and another year spent at Brenau earning my teaching certificate, I was prepared to embark on my new educational journey.
My first year was beyond comprehensible. College prepares you in no way for the real duties of managing a class full of 6th graders learning Language Arts. They were boorish little snots going through hormonal changes and testing my patience on a daily basis. They weren't really there to learn, but were more focused on the hierarchal social ladder and how to climb it properly, wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, of course. If they learned what an adverb was along the way, well, then, good for me. I did my job. But the crying, the he said-she said nonsense, their break-ups and three-way phone sagas and fights......OH! Too much for me to handle.
On most days I drove home slumped over the steering wheel in silence with a throbbing headache. After arriving home, I'd uncork a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and chug like a rockstar. I felt ulcers forming in my stomach from the stress and wine acid; and like a spoiled child, I found myself conjuring up fake illnesses in a successful attempt of avoidance. The only exercise I got that year was from my fingers dialing the sub hotline so I wouldn't have to go back to the shark feeding frenzy that was eating me alive. (Ok...I wasn't THAT bad, and they weren't either, but you get my point). It wasn't my dream job, to say the least. I went to college to teach, not counsel or police smug, attention-seeking behavior from twelve year-olds. I had no idea that teaching would encompass such diversity!
Fast forward ten years and I have become quite comfortable in my middle school role. It's amazing how a little experience can change your whole outlook. I have been a writing/reading teacher working in small group settings for nine years. I have loved every bit of the middle school roller coaster. I get to help the kids who struggle to develop their writing skills and build their confidence. I've developed every unit on writing essays that I have taught, and correlated any other writing activity from a novel we were reading as a class. And, as an added bonus, since my class sizes have always been small and manageable, I have had virtually no behavior issues. Take away the audience and the bad behavior goes with it. Funny how that happens. It made teaching a joy for me and learning for the students' was easy. Their test scores improved and I had a solid rapport with my was good and we were all smiles. No nasty migraines, I was exercising regularly, and only drinking martinis on Saturday nights.
I still to this day keep in touch with several of my students from over the years and I love it when they send me letters through their younger siblings, or even emails. Some drop by to see me, and in my mind they are always thirteen until they show up driving their car they worked all summer to pay for. Then they are seventeen with lean muscles, eighteen with earrings and chin hair, and then graduating from high school---but it's funny because in my mind they will always be the lanky thirteen year-old learning in my classroom.
This past April as we were wrapping our school year, we were told our new teaching assignments. What a bombshell hell of a day that was and I've been crying the blues ever since. My small class size has been increased to 28-30 kids at a time, 5 times a day--which means I will roughly have 150 students, and I am no longer writing remediation, but a 6th grade Language Arts teacher.....AGAIN!! I publically swore to God, Jesus, and all the Saints that I would NEVER do that job again. My head can't handle the abuse, nor can my liver. The good side, though, is that I now have experience under my belt AND I'm blessed to still have a job. I'm happy where I work and with whom I work; I guess I'm just a little apprehensive about the large groups.
Until August, I'll pray that I will be a better teacher with the masses, that I've learned a thing or two about managing the wise guys. It has been a long time since those kind of numbers. At least I'm older and more experienced, not as green. However, I will never tire of the teaching gig. Helping children learn in a fun, creative way is what I was born to do. I'll just have to wait it out and remain hopeful that my former job will be restored. Gotta have faith. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Mom will pray for strength and wisdon to deal with the masses of little helliuns. And lay off the Grigio, it's not good for your liver.