"I worked in the film and television industry right out of college before becoming a teacher. I was stressed out and not fulfilled in any of the work I was doing. I never would be super excited about going to work and it ended up turning into dread the last few years in that industry. My boyfriend (now current husband) and I were relocating to San Diego and I was ready for a change. I thought a lot about what I could envision myself waking up excited to go be a part of. I love being around kids and believe knowledge is power. When I was a kid, I would play school so I think it has always been in my orbit. I took the plunge and went back to school to get my credential. I have never looked back. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Sure, I am still stressed at times but it comes with a feeling of being stressed about something that truly matters.
The most rewarding part of teaching is realizing the moment when students are comfortable taking risks with their learning. When you have created a classroom community that values mistakes and putting yourself out there, it is such an amazing thing. There comes a point in the year where kids really understand and respect the classroom community that you have built and it is a special feeling. Another amazing thing about teaching is the ability to constantly evolve your practice. There is no one way to do things. You get to take risks and try new things each year. The pedagogy of teaching is constantly changing and I enjoy learning new ideas about how to make the most impact in the classroom.
The hardest part of my career is knowing some of the things these young humans have to deal with outside of school. Life is tough for a lot of students. It is easy to worry about your students when you are not in school. That is the main reason why I strive to make every day a comfortable and stable environment for these kids. I want them to leave my classroom each day knowing that they matter to this world and that I believe in them.
If you love being around kids, don’t mind trying new things and consider yourself a lifelong learner...do it! If you are willing to put in the time and effort to be a great teacher, you will definitely make a difference in the lives of young people. I make sure that I model acceptance and compassion for my students every day and I think kids can never have enough good examples of some of the traits of being a good human.
This year has been tough for a lot of students and their families. I have received a few messages from former students thanking me for the time we spent together last year before lockdown. One was from a kid that had a really hard time expressing himself and was very guarded. I was really moved that a 12 year-old recognized my effort AND took the time to reach out and vocalize it. Those messages have really solidified my belief that what I am doing is making a difference."
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