I wanted to be a teacher in 3rd grade after a great experience with my teacher and teacher assistant. My decision was re-affirmed after an AMAZING 5th grade teacher. My 8th grade English teacher taught me so many life lessons. She is still one of my favorite people in the world and every time I see her, she encourages me to stay in public education. The last time I saw her she said "North Carolina needs people like you." In high school, I was blessed to have the same teacher for three different social studies classes. He was an outstanding teacher, thought-provoking, held us to a higher standard, real, treated us like adults, and encouraged us to be independent thinkers. One of my favorite stories about him was when I was in AP European History, he had us read A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. I remember reading it and being incredibly angry that he would have us read such a barbaric article. It dawned on me after re-reading various sections that it was satire. That was a turning point for me in education and I have modeled myself after him in the classroom.
I still keep in touch with a lot of those teachers and I try to constantly remind them how incredibly important they are to me. My dad was in public education and I'll never forget him sitting me down and telling me that he didn't want me to be a teacher. He said "Meghan, not everyone will love history as much as you. Not everyone will find these ideas interesting. You will be an accomplished teacher if you can change one life in a year. And you're not going to make a lot of money. In fact, you're going to sacrifice things while your friends will go on trips or have fancy dinners out. But if you really want to do this, then you be the best teacher you can possibly be." He told that story in our wedding toast.
And that's what I have tried to do. I have tried to hold my students accountable, I realized teaching them life lessons was often more important than the curriculum, I have tried to be fair, and I have tried to encourage them to be independent thinkers. I have been criticized too many times to count on public forums for being too strict or worse. And every year, I take that a little more personal because all I have ever wanted is the best for my students. My aunt is a professor at Duke University, and when she posted this, it was so true for me.
It reminds me of how I feel. I have cards and notes from students all the way from my first year of teaching that are reminders that I have accomplished my goals with some students. I reflect on these notes when I'm having a bad day or questioning if I made the right choice, and I always get my answer. There was the one student who e-mailed me to tell me he registered to vote and even volunteered on campus to register students to vote after I expressed how important voting is. Or the one student who e-mailed me and said "I finally get it. I finally get that you were trying to prepare me for the real world and not being malicious. Thank you." Or the student whose mom I called to tell her that her son had made an A on his test and that he was so polite and helpful to me and his peers and she burst into tears because no one had ever called to tell her anything positive about her son (P.S. this is him). And the stories go on.
Last year, DG and I made a goal to figure out our passions and to pursue them. In a conversation with a student towards the end of the school year, I realized that I missed working with at-risk students. While the Advanced Placement curriculum is my academic passion, and I love both Human Geography and US History (seriously, I lecture to DG all the time), my life passion is working with students who have never been told they can be successful. I applied for a couple of jobs over the summer on a whim. I interviewed for one and went to the last round, and did not get the job. But, the next day, I received a phone call that I thought was just a hair appointment reminder. The phone call was from my #1 choice for this new job asking me to interview for the job. I went, interviewed, and didn't tell anyone other than DG. I woke up at 1:00 in the morning and told DG they'd be calling me the next day to offer me the job. I just knew it. It felt right.
And that's exactly what happened. I received the job in August about a week before school started. It was really close to the start of the new school year, so it was negotiated that I would teach first semester and start my new job 2nd semester. I was excited to teach for another semester because I don't know what my future holds at this point. Will I stick with intervention and pursue my masters in that? Maybe. I don't know yet. But I'm not sure if I'll go back in the classroom either so I gave this semester everything I had. I left it all on the table. But, I'd be lying if I said I haven't been about to burst with excitement about this new endeavor
If you made it to the end of this post, thank you. Today is the start of my new job and a change that I am both excited and nervous about the new beginning!
Hope you have a great day and enjoy your short work week!
Labels: my life