Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where do I begin?

I am beginning this blog from the suggestion of several people. My grandmother wanted me to write down my experiences, @openlyfeminist wanted to know what I did in my classes and quite frankly, I'd like to track my own progression in teaching. My biggest challenge is going to be making a commitment and sticking to it. Since I am not committed to anything at this point in my life besides my car payment and student loans, I have vowed to make this blog my proverbial significant other. So here goes nothing.

I am high school English teacher. Whereas my current position was a bit of an accident, my journey toward teaching was not. I decided I wanted to be a teacher about a year ago. To scrape by in Grad school, I sold all my worldly possessions. When I ran out of stuff, I got myself certificate to substitute teach. I did so at my Alma Mater because it was my comfort zone and I wanted to experience being "on the other side of the desk."

The pay was decent. ($88/day is better than the $0/day I was making at home). What kept me going back was the students. Sure, most of them forgot themselves when they saw I was a sub, but I forgive them. But, the stories I could tell you about them. My Alma Mater is a vocational school and I never understood what that truly meant until I became a substitute teacher.

I was subbing in an English class and Joseph was telling me how much he hated it. He hated it because his teacher thought he was stupid. So, I asked him what he liked. He continued to tell me how his teacher treated him. I stopped him and again asked him what he liked. His entire disposition changed. His face lit up. Turns out Joseph is in a band and he writes his own music and songs. He was in HVAC and when he graduates he has a guaranteed job and a spot in a Union just like his father and grandfather.

Joseph will never love Shakespeare as much as I do, but you bet he'd be the FIRST person I called if my heating/ventilation/air conditioning unit broke. Why? Because Joseph has the talent and the drive he needs to be the best at what he does.

I went home that day and researched. Turns out as an English MA candidate I could teach as long as I passed the PRAXIS II.

So, I paid the $130 and took the test. Then, My grandmother paid the $130 so I could take it again. (My meager budget did not factor in not passing the test the first time. I failed by 9 points.)

October 16, 2008 I got my PRAXIS scores in the mail. 175/200.
October 29, 2008 My NJ Certificate of Eligibitity arrived in the mail.
November 9, 2008 I got a phone call from the headmaster of my school. He is in desperate need of an English teacher.
November 10, 2008 I meet with said Headmaster & Assistant Headmaster. I am given my books and told to go home and plan.
November 12, 2008 I begin teaching English.

The rest will be chronicled here. Making the strides to be able to teach English has been the best decision I have ever made. I am grateful for literature, youth and teaching more and more everyday.

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