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I could work my life away but why? I’ve got things to do before I die.

May 18, 2011

I didn’t decide I wanted to be a teacher until my Junior year of High School.

Sure, growing up I considered it, but I had decided instead that I wanted to be a nurse. More specifically, I wanted to be a Delivery Room nurse. My high school offered a job shadowing program where you got to choose a career and they would match you up with someone to shadow for a day. I happily signed up and they sent me to a hospital in Tulsa for a day. All it took was witnessing a 13 year old have a baby for me to quickly decide that nursing was not the right career path for me.

At the time I was working at a child care center and I loved working with kids, so I decided that teaching would be a legitimate career path for me. I applied for my dream school, got in, and declared Early Childhood Education as my major (more specifically Human Development and Family Science with the option of Early Childhood Education…but who wants to get technical).

The further I got into my education classes, the more I realized that teaching wasn’t something that I wanted to do for life. I pictured myself teaching for a while and eventually opening up my own child care center or doing something similar to that. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew teaching would be the best place for me to go and use my degree while I was deciding.

After graduation (and before), I started applying for teaching jobs. There weren’t many openings and I only went on a few interviews. One of which happened at the job fair before graduation and the company offered me a job, but I wasn’t ready to take it. It wasn’t really the place I saw myself working. The other happened over the summer, but I didn’t get the job. Once August approached and I still hadn’t found anything, I called the first company back and they still had openings, so I was able to take a job teaching 4 year olds.

My first year teaching was a little rough. It was an adjustment. Not only did I have to become accustomed to the pressures of a full time teaching job, but I was also adjusting to working with kids that were unlike any I had worked with in any of my previous child care experiences. These kids were rough. I came home with bruises, scratches, and emothionally exhausted every day.

My second year was a little better. I had adjusted to things and finally had a routine down. I really liked my coworkers. I began seeing this as a place I could work for a long time. Possible somewhere I could move up in the company. The company also offered a program where they helped pay for your Master’s Degree, so I started working on that during my second year.

My third year was horrible. For reasons unknown to us, they split up my assistant and I and put me with someone new. I had a group of kids that was unlike any I had ever experienced. I had a few circumstances happen that really left with a bad taste in my mouth for my company. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were paying for my school, I probably would have quit. I dreaded going to work every day and came home emotionally exhausted every day.

This year, my fourth year, has been a total turnaround. After some time this summer to clear my mind, I went into the year with a new way of thinking. I fought for what I wanted and ended up getting put back with my former Assistant. Everyone around us comments on how well we work together. I love working with her and couldn’t be happier. I have an awesome group of kids. Even when I have bad days, I still don’t hate my job. In December, I finished my Master’s Degree.

Here is the problem. I got my Master’s Degree because I wanted to have new opportunities. I don’t want to teach forever. I want to move on to bigger things for me. I don’t feel like I have that opportunity where I am right now because of things that happened 2 years ago. For that reason, I have been looking for other jobs. I have been sending out my resume and filling out applications. I haven’t heard back from anyone though. It is hard because I don’t want to go back to the same place next year. I get an anxious feeling in my chest even thinking about having to do that. Yes, I am having a good year this year, but I know how quickly things can turn around. I have seen firsthand how that happens. I have seen how people you think are on your side really aren’t. I know there are only a few people I can truly trust there. But, if I don’t find another job, I won’t have any other choice. I can’t take a pay cut, and I definitely can’t go without work.

This is why I can’t sleep at night.

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