Career Change · Teaching

Decision to Teach

I was that annoying kid that always wanted to play school the first day of summer vacation. I remember a neighbor friend telling me “It’s vacation, duh! I don’t want MORE school!” As a kid, I didn’t like getting up early. I didn’t like the schedules. I didn’t like all the rules. However, I still loved school. I loved learning new things and showing others what I learned.

While in college, I worked as a computer technician. My favorite part of this job was leading training classes for customers and visiting customers to help them set up their systems. I was an MIS major for a while, but didn’t feel the challenge I needed with the field of business and although I’m good at it, I never really enjoyed programming so computer science was out of the question.

After taking an amazing physics course from the most awesome professor ever, I changed my major to physics on a whim and never looked back. I graduated a few years later and landed a position working with some brilliant minds at a manufacturing plant in the area. I enjoyed the challenge this job provided. However, something about it just didn’t feel right. The job was mostly about the numbers – the quantity of widgets shipped. The quality didn’t seem to matter much. The relationships built with others didn’t seem to matter much either. There were layoffs every few months and everyone was always on edge. The stories that flew around were revealing. The company wasn’t doing well, management was making horrible decisions, the company is going to get bought out by our competitors, the plant is moving to Thailand, we’re all going to lose our jobs.

These stories turned out to be mostly true. I was laid off about three years ago along with 100 or so of my coworkers. After the initial panic attack, I decided to look at my layoff as an opportunity to do what I love rather than do what I felt I needed to pay the bills and put food on the table.

I returned to school and earned my second bachelor’s degree, this time in education. To my surprise I earned the Praxis Award of Excellence on my science content exam, earned a high score on my edTPA, and graduated summa cum laude. This, I know, is what I’m meant to do. I love teaching science. I love sparking curiosity in young minds. I love the struggle of making the content relevant to them, making them want to learn about Newton’s Laws or optics or electricity. I stay up late writing plans and thinking of ways to make kids curious about the world. This is what I’m meant to do.

Since graduation, I’ve been substitute teaching in the area. As a substitute I’ve taught science at all levels, art to kindergartners, English to high school freshmen, reading to 6th and 7th graders, and I’ve even filled in at the Montessori Charter School. I have had a fantastic ride the past few months. Although substitute teaching tends to be more babysitting (depending on the lesson plans given), the kids are awesome – especially the naughty ones. I love those naughty ones. They make my day worthwhile.

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