Monday, November 16, 2015

A Thankful November

It is November and all around we see the change of scenery and the "Thankful Challenges" on social media. It is certainly a time to reflect and be thankful.

This year I am thankful for falling into situations.

As I was going to college to get my credential, my dream had always been to teach elementary school. More specifically, second grade. I was even lucky enough to student teach in two lower grades: second and kindergarten! Once my credential was completed, I got a job teaching kindergarten in my dream district. It was a temporary position as it was an overflow class, but I was living the dream! 

Then the year ended. 

And I was jobless. 

Like everyone else at the time, new teachers were looking and applying for jobs. I was hoping to continue my elementary career! I thought I gained amazing experience. I knew how to run a kindergarten class. I was feeling pretty confident. So much so, that I applied only for elementary positions. Why wouldn't I? That is where all my experience came from. 

June came and went. As did July. August was beginning to creep in and I was beginning to panic. So much so that I went back to being a server at a restaurant. 

Needless to say, I was devastated. I was depressed and felt hopeless. I had to open my search to English language arts (ELA) through ninth grade. Thinking, of course, that no one would want a teacher with ZERO upper grade experience. 

Little did I know my whole outlook on teaching and upper grades would change with a simple phone call.

I got a call in August for an interview for a seventh grade ELA position in Oakdale. I thought Sure! I will interview. They won't want me. 

I went to the interview. I was first on their list. Other prospective teachers were there in the waiting room and I looked at them knowing they were better qualified than I was. I literally went into the interview without a care as I knew they wouldn't find what they needed in an ELA teacher.

2:25 came around and my phone rang. It was the principal of Oakdale Junior High (OJHS). The moment I said "Hello" the principal said I was hired and how excited she was that I was joining the OJHS team. She talked about a new hire workshop, when my first day would be, and again, how excited she was I was joining the team. 

I don't remember saying yes to the job.

Without her confidence in me and her excitement, I think I would have collapsed that first year. I actually cried the first two weeks teaching that first year. I truly hated my job. I was miserable. But I didn't quit. I didn't leave after the first year. I felt I had something to prove within myself.

My second year as a seventh grade ELA teacher brought challenges, but day by day I truly fell in love with English and the age group! I understood the curriculum better. I had colleagues I could collaborate and share with. But most of all, I truly adored my students. They were fun, creative, silly, and bright! 

Since that year, I have been driven to get better and mix it up each year. I have broadened my education and knowledge and shown what I had learned with students and colleagues alike. I became a SMART Exemplary Educator and a Google Certified Teacher (now Google Certified Innovator) and Teacher of the Year in my county. I don't know if that would have happened had I stayed elementary. I would like to think so, but who knows!

Falling into situations continue to benefit me. I fell into teaching eighth grade. I fell into the educational side of Twitter. And I hope that more "falling" continues. 

As they say: