I was not the easiest student to have in the classroom because I was a smart-aleck who liked to be the center of attention and make everyone laugh. In my elementary school, students stayed with the same classmates and teachers for two years before they got re-shuffled and it was grouped, K-1, 2-3, 4-5. This meant that my teachers got to experience me for not just one whole school year, but two!
The first time I took a trip to the Principal’s Office was in Kindergarten. We were doing independent, silent work and my teacher was crouched down near a desk, on the opposite side of the room and I thought she had left. I stood up on my desk and yelled “she’s gone which means it’s party time!!!” My teacher immediately stood up and wrote me a hall-pass to the Principals Office.
I continued through elementary school rebelling and getting into all sorts of trouble. My Dad started threatening me with an all girls private school that was across from his office. He said he’d walk to the school to hold my hand and walk me from class to class everyday which really scared me straight, even if I didn’t totally act like it.
Eventually I graduated from the public elementary school and too my surprise, they were happy to see me leaving them too. I moved onto middle school where my elementary school was mixed with 6 others in the district to make up an extremely over crowded middle school. We were split into a track system and we were in school for 9 weeks and then we were off for 3. It was a pretty good life.
After middle school, I went to the neighborhood high school and I feel like this is where I finally started to grasp who I was and who I wanted to be. I was absolutely slammed with extra curricular activities and commitments I’d made outside of school so my life was pretty busy. I was completely overwhelmed but there was a sort of excitement that came with having such a busy schedule.
One of my classes was an education pathway and we had the opportunity to go to a nearby elementary school and be in the classroom working with students. It was on one of these trips that my decision to be a teacher was solidified.
There was a student in the class next to mine and I knew him because I would babysit for his family on the weekends. I was surprised to see him in a general education classroom setting because he had learning and behavioral issues. His teacher was not well equipped to handle his outbursts but because of the way the public education system works, he didn’t meet the state’s criteria to be put in a special education classroom or have an aid help him through the day. His teacher tried to handle his outbursts and distractions by putting him in a corner by himself and he dreaded school because of the loneliness and embarrassment that came with his teachers decisions.
I realized I wanted to be a teacher who could help the students that fell between the cracks of our education system. I wanted to be a teacher who could be in a general education classroom setting who had some background knowledge into handling different kinds of behaviors as well as the passion and drive to want to be there. Here we are, three years into college, pursuing my degree in Elementary Education with a endorsement in Special Education.