I have to warn you... there will not be any cute pictures or creative ideas on this post. If you start to get bored reading it, I understand. But I just feel the need to share my story. I hope that this can help someone out... especially anyone who sometimes thinks they are not good enough... because I have SO been there.
I've already blogged about how my grandmother (I called her nanny) told me that I should become a teacher. When she became sick my senior year of high school, I decided that Early Childhood Education would be my major at USC. She passed away a month before I graduated from high school, so becoming a teacher is one of my ways of honoring her.
College was pretty easy for me. I like learning, I love to read, and strangely I like to write papers and study. I received a lot of positive feedback from my mentor teacher during Student Teaching, especially on my classroom management. I was told that it was going to be so easy for me to find a job once I graduated.
Boy were they wrong. It was 2009 and finding a teaching job was harder than surviving the Hunger Games. Interview after interview resulted in "Sorry, we went with a more experienced teacher." Running out of time and choices, I decided to interview for a Preschool position. You can imagine my excitement when I finally heard those two words every graduate wants to hear..... no, not "Marry Me?".... I heard "You're Hired!"
I started working in August of 2009 and I was loving life! My coteacher was awesome, we had a small group of kids, and I was finally getting paid! Sure there were some days when I wondered if I would ever get a "real" job, but I did my best and that's all that mattered. I have the type of personality where I want everyone to like me. I'm a pleaser. It's a downfall at times, but it makes me work hard. One day my boss called me into her office for a meeting. I thought for sure it was going to be to tell me what a good job I was doing. I walked in with a smile on my face, just waiting for the compliments to pour out. Instead she said I simply wasn't good enough. She said "You'll never be a good teacher, until you take every advice I give you." My heart broke. I can't even express how much those words hurt me. All of my life I've wanted to help others and I worked hard for four years to get my dream career. I started to wonder if I had made the right decision in becoming a teacher.
I walked out of the office with my world turned upside down. I had never heard someone be that unkind to another human being. She ended up moving me to another class, but quitting was NOT an option for me. Instead, I worked hard everyday to prove to her that I COULD do it.
The day I'll never forget was when the principal of my current school called to tell me that I had been offered a second grade position. I put in my two weeks notice at my preschool the next day, and surprisingly the director asked me to stay. I told her that I needed to be a place where I would be treated better. (Come to find out, she was fired a month later for treating people unkindly.... go figure!)
I started my "real" teaching days nervous about being successful. But I held my head high and continued to do my best. At the end of my first year, I had a meeting with my principal about my successes/struggles as a first year teacher. Nervous because of how I had been treated in the past, I was thrilled when he complimented me on all of my hard work! The famous quotes was "You're a natural. You go it!"
Since my first year of teaching, my confidence has definitely gotten better. There are still days when I can hear what my first boss told me and I think "what if she's right?" Just a couple of weeks ago, I was announced as a nominee for Teacher of the Year at my school. We're a K-11 school so they picked a teacher from each building and I was the elementary teacher chosen. Hearing this announcement made me feel so much better about what was said to me in the past. Although I didn't win the overall Teacher of the Year, I'm still happy with my accomplishments. There are still sooooo many things I can improve on. I still get behind with grading, forget to send things home, and make typos, but overall I think I'm doing okay. I love my kids and I love my school, so that's all that really matters.