When Katie so graciously invited me to guest post on Chalk it Up, she mentioned that a good place to start would be “a time when you had an experience that maybe didn't go quite as you planned…”
And I was all, “OH! That would be, like, the ENTIRE DECADE of my twenties!!!!”
And most of my thirties too, truth be told. So, I’m feeling kind’a well qualified here.
My life goals as a child were a little on the “diverse” side. I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. But I also wanted to grow up to be a cowboy. And a truck driver. And a beach bum. Most of all, I wanted to grow up to be a gypsy, because I wanted to live in one of these:
I mean, who doesn’t?!?!?
I entered my teen years and proceeded to quit college three times before finally ending up with my degree. It would be years before I actually stepped into the classroom to teach.
Unfortunately or fortunately, I was the one learning so many of the lessons. During my two years in public school I had heartbreak after heartbreak, “teaching” kids who had been previously kidnapped, who had seen family members murdered, who were being raised by siblings because they had parents who were deceased and/or unfit, who had relatives in jail, who claimed they were the devil, who threatened suicide.
And I was teaching six year olds!
I stayed in teaching because it was my life goal and because I wanted to help children. And because becoming a truck driver seemed less and less likely the more of my own children I produced.
But Katie’s blog is about making the best of it and moving on, which I did. I had to, for my own mental health. One can only persevere for so long before falling head first into the abyss. I now teach in a school that does not ask me to break laws with a nudge and a wink, that does not write me up if I am ten minutes behind schedule, and that, most importantly, respects me as a professional teacher.
However, I have earned that respect with eleven years of teaching now under my belt. What I lacked when I started was my own voice. I lacked the “my way or the highway” attitude that is so important in managing a classroom of children, no matter the age.
Fair yet firm is how I try and work with kids these days, in so far as I am able. And the little girl who told me she was Satan? These days I would have no trouble telling her that it was all well and good that she was the devil, but that she needed to sit at her desk and do her class work anyway.
So I “Chalk it up to Better Luck”, but also to knowing when to move on and when to make a change!