So to our Tale Weaver Theme; It’s not how you fall it’s how you get back up…
When I think of a time that I felt really beat down, like I had fallen hard or was still in the falling process, was when I decided to try and find a teaching job.
When I was in graduate school getting my MS in Elementary Ed I also got married. I was still waitressing and hadn’t thought about actual work after graduation. Then I got pregnant with my daughter…and then my son…I wanted to be home with them so I continued to waitress and bartend until they were both in school. So it was then that I started applying to schools.
I applied to every school I could find in a half-hour to hour radius. I didn’t get rejection letters though! Haha, I just never got any responses. Anyhow, I thought maybe if I could just get my foot in the door to a school I could ease my way into a position. I wanted to be a first grade teacher. I envisioned all the kids sitting around my tiny little chair as I read stories to them. In my mind they would think I was the prettiest and best teacher in the whole school. The principal would think I was great at my job and always willing to learn, even when hitting bumps. It was a nice dream.
I got a job in a school…a high school…with a student with special needs…as an aide. Now, I had the experience as I had worked with special needs adults for about two years as a job coach, but that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I wanted to work with the little kids that ran into the building loving school and happy to be there. Anyhow, I did fall in love with the job, as an aide, being in classrooms, helping in resource rooms, etc. The following school year I went back but the student I had been working with, who was an awesome kid, had moved away so I was reassigned to a group of kids. It wasn’t the same. Gary (that’s what I will call him) was an awesome kid and so talented. I wanted to work with him, not all the other kids. So I applied and I got a job as aide in a first grade classroom in a typical elementary school. I was ecstatic! My dream come true, or at least I was getting closer.
By this time I was still applying for teaching jobs but still hadn’t gotten even one interview. I really wanted to be the teacher, not the aide.
One day I got a call from a school, one I didn’t even recall applying to, but I didn’t care, it was a school. I went for the interview. It was a special school but the kids were all in grades 1 to 6. That would work for me! I knew nothing about the job but was so excited and so happy to be a real teacher that I didn’t care.
It turns out it was a teaching job but not in a typical elementary school. It was in a clinical day treatment program working with children with special needs in conjunction with social/emotional disturbances who had been “kicked out” of public school as soon as the public school exhausted all of its resources. These kids were not running into school anxious to open a book and learn. No, they threw the book at you or told you where to shove it. Now that being said it still was a teaching job so I wasn’t really down per say, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
Needless to say I fell in love with my fellow teachers and each and every one of those students (well there were a few I just couldn’t cozy up to). So as I would reflect then as I do now, I thought I was down but when I looked at how happy I was….I was actually flying high and had succeeded in doing exactly what I wanted – being a teacher.