I became an educator for two reasons. The first and less serious answer is that the circus was not a “forever job”. The real answer is that the people who made me feel like I had a voice in this world were my teachers. I wanted to continue this chain and allow my students to find their own voices. I fell in love with freedom at a very young age because I never really felt like I had it. I had to grow up young and I bore the responsibilities of life when I barely knew what I wanted to do with my own. I had this amazing teacher who taught me that my voice was my freedom. I started studying the Constitution and history and found that a lot of people, like me, found their voice through education.
I pursued a degree in history thinking that I would be some hotshot in a collegiate setting. I quickly learned that publishing research papers was not going to fulfill my passion for teaching people about freedom or finding their “voice”. What a wacky dissertation that would be! I caught the teaching bug right after I graduated from undergrad. I was given a chance to visit my old high school and the woman who helped me find my voice. I got to teach her students about my favorite subject, history. I knew from that moment on that where I needed to be was in a classroom.
I needed to teach rascals who, like me, need someone to believe in them. I wanted to show kids they had a voice. I became an educator to challenge the way we think about freedom, to use our voice for positivity and change. If we are being honest, it’s the next best thing to joining the circus.
I love a lot of things about my school. I could give a cliché answer like “oh, I just love my students.” Uh, I sure hope we do! The drive I have for my school is deeper than a 9-5 appreciation for my students. I love the challenges it provides me. I am a very antsy person who is always doing laps around my students. I love my school because it allows me to be a problem solver. I saw we had a crisis within our community with food insecurity. So I made a food bank! I saw my students were wanting to be productive members of society, so I made a student council. I had a team of teachers that all had different teaching experiences and backgrounds.
I became a team lead to create a strong group of educators. I love my school because, while these “problems” are similar throughout the nation, the thing that separates my school from the rest is my principal. She is a fiercely loyal woman who is the reason I have seen so much growth in myself. She lets me shoot out crazy ideas and run with them. I want to start an ASL club? Go crazy. I want to raise baby chickens. Where are we housing them? I want to host a middle school dance? Keep the lights on! She is my catalyst for creativity. I am thankful for her. She does not see my creativity and energy as a burden. She propels it and finds it potential.
How great of a feeling this is to know that my thoughts are valuable. I love my students, most teachers should. But how many of us can really say “I love my boss?” I love my school because it is a place where I can shine and use my voice. I finally found my voice, AMSG is my microphone, and my principal is the person who is always cheering me on.
I grew up in a public school. While my school was well funded I knew there were a lot of issues with it. I grew up hearing murmurs from the teachers’ lounge “that kid,” or “those people,” The racial slurs, the stereotyping, the insinuations. It left me feeling uncomfortable and grim. I knew my school had a history of keeping secrets. I always remembered asking my mum if I could be moved to a school of my choice. The problem? Where I grew up it was public or private schools. These private schools cost six to ten thousand dollars a year to attend. My father was impacted by the 2008 recession and my family hit a rough patch for several years. I was forced to attend a school that never looked out for me.
I was lucky when I found my government and law teacher during my senior year. But for three years prior I had to endure a public education that let me fall through the cracks. I grew up telling myself, that If I had a choice I would send my kids to a school where they felt their most authentic self. While I don’t have children, this belief stuck with me when I was applying for teaching positions. I chose to work for a charter school because I knew that the students who come here want to be here.
” It is important to let children and families choose their education. Not everything in life is optional. Education, however, should be. How we learn is different from one another. “
I could use that as a way to encourage them to work to their full potential. I remind them that they get a voice, that they used that voice to get here, and that they can use that voice while they are in school. It is important to let children and families choose their education. Not everything in life is optional. Education, however, should be. How we learn is different from one another. We cannot judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. Why would we place our students in schools that would give them the proper tests of their abilities? Allowing a choice, regardless of income is a basic human right, and I will always fight for these rights!
I am thankful for this time and consideration. I am lucky to be an educator. It is a hard job and is often overlooked. People are either wishing us well or complaining that we don’t work hard enough. I wouldn’t change it for the world.