I never meant to be a teacher.
I was not the child who grew up having tea parties with younger siblings or playing “school” with friends. And while I got along with children well enough as a child, I also wasn’t the teenager who fawned over younger kids and oozed gooey joy at the prospect of babysitting those adorable young mini-people. Yes, I babysat. Primarily because I needed the money to go to movies with my friends and because the families I babysat for had cable T.V. and way better snack food than my house. (Helloooo, Twizzlers and MTV!) No, when folks sigh nostalgically and say “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher!” I say, “Whoa. That’s messed up.”
In good American tradition, I became a teacher out of the opressive desire to move out of my parents’ basement. That combined with a long story involving my ex-German instructor, a Spanish class with three subs and a hail Mary interview of glowing incompetency.
Anyhoo. Accidentally started teaching Spanish to high schoolers. Figured I might as well, since I spoke it. They even gave me a paycheck in the process! Although whose idea it was to stick a 23 year old in a classroom of 18 year olds (mid-year, nonetheless) beats the hell out of me. I suppose it happens regularly across the high school classrooms of America but, yowsers. Luckily, I’m bossy.
Was bribed into getting a Masters in Teaching (a complete waste of my time for which, contrary to all logic, I received a pay raise.) Managed six years without getting fired. Always a big plus. Then switched jobs and landed at a school that kicked my ass. Learned more at that school in one year than in my entire Masters degree (A “yay” for good schools, and a “you-suck-donkey-tails” for upper level ed programs.) Suddenly, I realized that for whatever obscure reason, folks seemed to think I was alright at this teaching thing.
Twelve years into this whole educational shenenigan of a teaching gig to get myself out of my parents basement, I was presented with the opportunity to become an instructional coach and work with new teachers at multiple schools. Since, thanks to some lucky timing, said opportunity neatly coincided with a sudden desire to stab myself in the eyeball with a piñata every time I heard the phrase “Me llamo es…” (It’s me llamo, people. LLAMO. There’s no es!) I thought that maybe it was time to take a little break from the whole teaching Spanish thing.
So I did.
And now, rather than having parents’ darling children entrusted to me, I have the teachers of parents’ darling children entrusted to me. I’m supposed to bring ’em up right. Teach ’em how to teach. Be a good educator role model.
Yeah, it’s probably a lost cause with me at the helm, but I do what I can.
So depending on the day, I teach kids, I teach teachers. I (try and) teach myself not to take this education thing too seriously, too hard, because the bad days can break your heart.
But the good ones make you pee yourself with laughter.
And for that reason, and in whatever capacity it may be, I will always and forever work in education.