When I was a young girl, I dreamed of becoming a teacher when I was older. I even played school with my dolls and stuffed animals; sometimes my younger brother even played along. At that moment in time, I just knew, call it a gut feeling if you wish, that I was meant to be a teacher.
During my sophomore year in high school, I took a journalism class and loved every minute of the writing. Of course, writing had always been one of my favorite interests. My newfound love of journalism carried on into my junior and senior years when my family moved to a new town. At my new high school I received the opportunity to be on both the yearbook and newspaper staffs. I decided right then that I wanted to major in journalism.
When I began college, I did major in journalism. Actually, I double majored in journalism and criminal justice since the journalism program required 27 credit hours in another area, not too far off for the number of credits for a second major.
As I began my senior year, I had no idea what kind of a job I wanted. I had taken the LSAT and thought about going to law school. However, with my test results I wasn’t sure if I could make it into a law school.
When I was asked by my former band director to help teach marching fundamentals and drill for the marching band, it was then that I once again headed back to teaching. I loved working with the students and seeing their faces light up when their hard work paid off.
At the end of my senior year in college, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and criminal justice and headed to summer school to begin working on my teaching license. I truly knew then that teaching was going to be a dream come true.
After an extra two years of college taking my teacher education and English classes, I earned my secondary license in English and journalism. Now if I could just find a job, I was all set. Unfortunately, teaching jobs in the area I live are not plentiful, and I didn’t really want to move away from my family and friends. I began subbing in the nearby schools trying to get my feet in the door.
Within a year I obtained a remediation aide position and taught middle school students I one-on-one and small group settings. We worked on their weaknesses in English and math so they could hopefully pass the standardized tests that they are required to pass by the state.
A few years passed before I finally achieved my true dream of being an English teacher. I taught high school freshman and junior English classes. Most of the freshmen were in special education so I actually team taught with a special education teacher; I was paid with a grant from the state supporting this program to help these students pass a standardized test given across the state.
Again, luck was not on my side. I lost my first teaching job due to cutbacks, got called back a week before the next school year started, and by the end of the year lost the job again. I didn’t get called back a second time. However, I was still determined to work in the education field. I just knew it was where I was supposed to be.
A few months later I received a job working as a special education aide at another high school. While my background wasn’t special education, I had learned some things about these “special” students as a substitute teacher. At the same time I was still able to use my English background to assist a teacher with the lower level English classes she taught. She even asked for ideas and my opinions on what she was teaching, and I happily shared.
For the last four years I have moved on from that special education aide position to a special education aide position at a different high school. As a resource aide, I spend the majority of my day helping students with their homework and reading tests to them in their various class subjects, especially English and journalism. One class period a day I do inclusion and assist an English teacher with her class.
While I still don’t have an actual teaching job, I still feel like I am getting use of my teaching license. Someday I hope to achieve my dream again and can step into my own classroom teaching English and journalism.