- Posted September 16, 2012 by
Brooklyn, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Teachers: Why do you teach?
Teaching Was My Destiny
Directly following graduating in 2009, I struggled to find a job. In the year that it took me to find a job, I still stuck to working in museum education; teaching sessions and giving tours of Chinatown to school groups and other organized groups. In addition to the two museums where I worked, in the afternoons, I traveled 2 hours to get to an after school program where I felt like my expertise and education went unnoticed.
I almost gave up teaching at the end of that school year, not because I disliked working with children, but because the opportunities for social studies teachers were closed off because of hiring freezes and the low-need for teachers in that area. Without a special education or other specialized license, very few opportunities were open to me. I began looking for other careers.
It was at one interview, where I would be the education coordinator at a non-profit that I saw that I could not live in a cubicle on a day-to-day basis. At the interview, I would not work with children, but rather work with community organizations to advocate for children. I left that interview with a renewed spirit to find a teaching position. I cast a wide-net, searching for jobs all along the east coast, but hadn't received any call-backs for interviews.
By pure luck, I received a call from a principal in Brooklyn, only 10 miles from my home. She had found my resume online and wanted to interview me. I attended the interview the following day and within three hours was offered the position. I thanked my lucky stars!
Three years later, I continue to teach at the same school and at the end of each year, I live in fear of being laid off. Each Spring, I continually look for jobs in other areas, "just in case." I understand that its not my principal's decision - it's a bureaucratic decision based on seniority within the New York City system.
I continue to teach everyday because it's WHO I AM. My relationship with students and parents on a daily basis has always been amicable and constructive. Parents are grateful for the education and support that me and my fellow teachers give their kids. We make phone calls home, send emails, send reminders for major assignments and make phone calls home when assignments aren't handed in on time. All teachers at our school wonder why we do what we do sometimes, and when we get together, we know what makes the job bearable. It's the ability for us to get together and bond as a staff; to laugh; to find release at the end of the day because we leave our teacher cloaks at school and can unwind.
Yet, we continue to find common ground as a staff to talk about students. We laugh at stories and yet still give advice on a day-to-day basis. Everyday we fight the good fight, not giving into students who "don't come to school when it rains," or whose "dogs ate their homework". We go above and beyond to make sure that our students push themselves in ways that their parents may not be able to push them.
Teachers at our school are expected to participate in a 5 day camping trip with the 9th graders. I was hesitant to say the least - giving an entire work week, not just our regular school day, but evening and morning to our students. Needless to say, I went. And I enjoyed every minute of it. We worked on teambuilding, low and high-rope challenges, and our students learned to work together in order to appreciate both nature and each other. That was the best week of my teaching career.
And it's the "Ah-ha!" moment, when even one of your students solves that math problem, or wrote that analytical essay that makes every fight, struggle, and late night worth it. It's the smile on the face of a student who finally understood the material that continues to push me forward. And it's the student that comes back to me after they've left my class and tell me that they were grateful for me pushing them through my course that I find love in what my colleagues and I do everyday.