Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Three Years Teaching: Lingering Anxieties and Other Musings

I have always loved to write.  In fact, I once believed that I would become a famous author one day (could still happen, right?).  A long time ago, when I was barely twenty and had absolutely no idea who I was, I toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher because I thought it would leave a lot of time to be a writer.  This is obviously the musings of a person who has no idea what it's like to be an educator.  But, nonetheless, I made the famous "pro/con" list.  At the time, I was trying to decide whether to be a teacher or go down the family business path and become an insurance agent.  The other day I found this list and, naturally, Instagrammed the silly thing.

In the end, I decided I would become an insurance agent, which almost happened.  After my junior year of college, I decided to drop out and work full time at my dad's agency.  One dull summer of learning about weather perils, collisions, and billing put me promptly back into school in August and I was still able to graduate on time with a degree in English.

I still had hopes of being a writer, but needed to save money for grad school, so after graduation I ironically went to work for Wells Fargo Financial as a--well, I forget exactly what my title was now because it was a bunch of baloney.  Basically I sold car loans and credit cards, masked as a solution for debt.  Three months of listening to my managers and co-workers laugh at others' financial struggle, taking joy in digging them deeper into debt, was all I could take (and don't get me started on their inability to spell or use correct grammar in emails).

Although those three months at Wells Fargo were three of the worst months of my life, I am eternally grateful for my experience for two reasons:

1. It taught me about loans and how to read/avoid sleezy loan sharks.
2. It made me realize that I needed to be in a profession that actually mattered.  A profession that would allow me to help make someone a better person.  It made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher.

I remember the morning before my first experience as a student observer.  I was feeling very nervous because I had not been in a high school classroom since I was a high school student.  I didn't know what to expect.  In the car, I prayed to God that I would like it.  I had already committed to grad school for secondary education, so how awful would it have been if I left that day feeling like teaching wasn't my path?  Luckily, I loved it and I haven't looked back.

I am now in my third year of teaching.  I still have crazy anxieties about lawsuits (that educational law class was scarring!) and often wonder if what I'm doing is working.  But then I look at my students and I realize that I'm not such a bad teacher.  I love them and they know it: isn't that what it's all about?  If students know that you care about them, then an increase in test scores will be a natural symptom.  If you love what you're doing and make an investment in the people you are teaching, good teaching practices are bound to come forth.

So I am looking forward to creating a blog about something I love.  I aim to be real and I hope that my ramblings may inspire in some way.  And I look forward to getting to know more teachers who are keeping it real and fighting the good fight.

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