This is a follow up post to Karley’s reflective post from Sunday because the recent connections we have made with undergraduate students has really put us both into a reflective place.
What I want most for my students is what I’ve always wanted most for myself: Creativity, Passion, Compassion. I feel so lucky that I’ve found a career that allows me to utilize these traits on a daily basis.
How Did I Get Here?
I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a teacher. I have always loved working with children and loved tutoring and helping others, but as I finished high school I was looking towards international development careers. After high school I took a year off to do the Katimavik program, and it was during that program that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. I remember sitting on the shared computer in our Katimavik house looking at the courses I would be taking in the UVIC Education program and I started to feel the excitement of finding something I was truly passionate about.
Anyone who knew me during this time in my life would probably describe me as either an over-achiever or down-right crazy! For two semesters I took 6 courses instead of the regular full time 5 course load because I wanted to make sure my French would be good enough to teach at the middle school level.
I worked around 20 hours a week throughout my degree in jobs that gave me a lot of skills that help me in my teaching career. I ran developmental sports programs for kids. I worked as a leader in out of school care, as well as a one-on-one worker there. I became a research assistant at UVIC on an amazing research project. And then I became a Youth Programmer at a community centre. I was halfway to a career in recreation when I finished my Education degree.
On top of that I volunteered for two years as the workshop coordinator for our Education Students’ Association and put on many different workshops as well as co-planning a large student-run conference that was very successful. Through this I was able to make some amazing connections with people who have taught me so much about this education world and the importance of professional development.
Are you tired of reading yet? I was EXHAUSTED by the end of my degree. I was burning the candle at both ends and although I don’t regret most of that (those were some of the most amazing opportunities I’ve had), I definitely don’t recommend it! (You can read more about how my end of degree breakdown helped me become who I am today here).
Hello, Teaching World!
After a two month break to rebuild myself after my final practicum, I applied to the school district to be a Teacher On Call. There are three districts in our area but I only applied for the one because that’s the only one I really wanted to be a part of. Looking back this doesn’t make a lot of sense but at the time I was so sure of it – And I guess I did something right! Karley and I both had our interviews the same week.
I’m not trying to brag at all but I ROCKED my interview! Sometimes (Ha! or always some might say) when you get me talking about teaching I just can’t stop so an interview for a teaching job is kind of like a dream come true (minus the nerves!). I showed my creativity, passion, and compassion throughout and my interview panel told me that as long as my references checked out I would be good to go and should hear back soon.
And then came the longest wait of my life… I waited past the date they told me I would hear by. I waited while others I knew accepted positions with their districts. I waited past the school district summer closure. I waited while my summer job was drawing to a close with no work planned for the fall. I waited and waited until the week before school started when school staffs were back at work and with some phone calls and hard work from people I am extremely grateful for, I officially got on the list the day before school started that September.
Since then I have taught French and English to a group of grade 8’s for a full year, while substitute teaching on my days off. This year, I have been a substitute teacher and learned so much about behaviour management and different classroom set-ups. I have taught full time for nine weeks in a grade 8 class. Now, I have a one day contract in grade 8 at a wonderful school. And in between all of that was a rocky road of excitement, disappointment, enthusiasm and grief.
And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and, although that has already been challenged a lot in this new career, I still hold firmly to that belief. By holding on tightly to my creativity, passion and compassion I have started to find my place in this teaching world. I encourage all new teachers to do the same. Find a place that feels right – whether it be a district, a grade level, a school, a subject or whatever! Knowing what you want will help you work towards your goals and share your light with those around you – And be patient because this amazing career is worth those waits!