Roughly 5 years ago I faced the moment that almost all history majors must face.
“Should I become a teacher?”
And so I signed up for a year teaching English in a country I didn’t know with a roommate I barely got along with. That decision was the motivation to start this blog.
After a year overseas I realized 2 things. One, I didn’t want to live overseas permanently. Two, I would become a teacher in the US.
So I got home, applied to graduate school and last May completed my Masters in Education in History (Grades 8-12), getting my teacher’s license in the process.
And then I began my job search for the summer.
At one point I had over 30 applications pending. The number ballooned because by August I realized a job in a high school history classroom would probably not happen for this school year. I applied to long-term sub jobs, middle school jobs and finally paraprofessional jobs. I had two interviews all summer and no job offers.
The week before school started a classmate told me a school was looking for paraprofessionals. I emailed them and a day later I had an interview and a job offer. I would be a paraprofessional hired specifically to help a student with autism and severe developmental delays navigate his school day at the high school. It paid poorly but was full-time with benefits. I took the job.
The job was both alternatively awesome and incredibly frustrating. The teachers I met were fantastic, kind, and totally supportive of me being there. I was respected as a teacher even though that was not my actual position yet. The student and his classmates were lovely kids whose innocence and personalities were truly infectious. But ultimately the job was not fulfilling. I rarely got to see other students in the building and usually the simplest tasks I asked of my student were simply impossible. I cared for those kids to my utmost and the teacher I worked with saw that but it was difficult each day. People who work with students of special needs deserve a medal. It is tremendously rewarding but also unbelievably challenging. I knew I needed to keep looking.
In October jobs started to be posted online for long-term subbing jobs for this school year. I applied to a few just for the heck of it. A few weeks later I got an interview request from a school an hour away from me. Longer than I wanted but you do not turn down an interview. I drove the hour and felt like I botched my first answer as I was still answering. When I left I saw good points but could not see myself getting a job offer. I even forgot to send a a thank you until 5 days after the interview. There was little hope in my mind.
A week after the interview the principal emailed me and asked me to call his office. He wanted me to come in. I had a job offer.
Today I went in to meet my students for the first time. It was just a day to hang out, observe and start thinking about when I start after the winter break. The kids have had a substitute the last two months. She has done her best in incredibly difficult circumstances but she does not have formal training as a teacher and the kids know it. The kids were generally loud, disruptive and inconsiderate. And yet as I sat there I could barely contain my excitement.
I’m going to be a teacher. I’m going to teach 8th graders US history until at least June. It’s been a long journey to this point but here I am and I cannot wait to continue the next step.