Monday, August 13, 2012

My Teacher Story

"My Teacher Story" Linky Party Inspired by Frogs and Cupcakes

All teachers have their own story for how they became a teacher. Here's mine:

I always thought about being a teacher. Even as a little kid, I remember making a homemade projector out of my lego table, a flashlight, and a mirror. I used it to "teach" my niece, who was 7 years younger than me. Once I got to high school, I discovered I was really good at science and wanted a job in biotechnology studying genetics.

I started my first year of college and HATED my science professors. If I had questions, they refused to answer them and it was far from inspiring. I switched to education sophomore year and loved it! I struggled to decided between general ed and special ed when I got to ASU. I picked general ed and loved every class in my credential program. I interned at an AMAZING school, and loved student teaching. I had a unique placement in a classroom with co-teachers. One a very experienced by-the-books teacher who taught me firmness and organization go a long way in having a successful classroom. The other teacher was a chipper young teacher who switch from a self-contained ED classroom to general ed. She taught me how to work with the most difficult kids. It was common for the school to place the most challenging kids in their class to see if they could stick it out in mainstream before changing to self-contained special ed. I learned so much from them! They quickly learned I could handle the toughest of the bunch.

I was hired and began teaching in my very own class the day after student teaching was over. I often was given some of the more challenging students and I always grew to love them. One kid, who no one wanted in their class because he was aggressive and disruptive, made me cry the day he moved away. I loved the challenge of making him do better.

When I moved back to California after 3 years of teaching in AZ, my certification was in limbo between states. No one would hire me in a world of budget cuts, few job openings, and lines of teachers desperate for a job. Then I found one... in special ed. It was a private school that did not have to follow the same certification rules. It was K-2 (just my specialty!) working with kids with autism, asperger's and other mild-moderate disabilities. I accepted the job on the spot and have been there ever since.

I earned my M.A. in Special Education at night to learn more about the kids I was teaching. Each year is a new set of challenges, but I would never choose another career. I especially enjoy looping with my kids for 2+ years and feeling like a family with my little guys in our tiny classroom cottage.

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