February 6, 2013
Exploring Education as a Profession
Becoming a Teacher
I would love to write about how I wanted to become a teacher since I was ten years old, but it is not true. I just happened to get involved in a round-about-way. Having four children under the age of ten, going back to work was a necessity. I became a school nutritionist, also known as ‘lunch lady’. It was perfect hours, decent pay and summers off, what more could I ask for? On my second day, I met the special needs teacher, Jessica, who changed everything. She introduced me to her class which accommodated children with mild/moderate to severe disabilities. Every day they would come to lunch and I started doing small projects with them. I fell in love and wanted more. I wanted to become a teacher to work with these wonderful students.
I continued working in the cafeteria for a few more years, all the while working with and learning about the special needs programs in our school system. Jessica constantly encouraged me to get my paraprofessional certificate. I was fearful to take a test; I do not like taking tests. She shared a quote from my now favorite educator/philosopher John Dewey, “The most important attitude that can be formed is that of the desire to go on learning.” Finally, I took the test, passed it, interviewed for a position and was offered a position in the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) all in two weeks. I took that as my sign I was doing the right thing.
Learning how these students absorbed information, what makes them tick and how to handle behaviors has been amazing, though challenging. I knew quickly that this is what I was destined to do with my life. Teaching and connecting with special needs students became my passion and with everything falling into place so quickly, I knew it was meant to be. Working as an assistant for three years just made me yearn for more. I wanted to learn more and do more, so...