How and why I changed careers and became a special education teacher is a much longer story, one to wait until another day. In case you are not a teacher and do not know what I mean when I refer to the "natural" teachers, let me explain...
I just cringed.
I do envy them but doing one thing forever makes me feel closed in and a little sick to my stomach. I know, I know. I might not be the typical person. That is ok. I have never wanted to be or do what everyone else is doing...no reason to start now.
When I was growing up, I changed my mind many times about what I wanted to do with my life. When I was in college I knew it was criminal justice, but it was hard to decide just what I wanted to do in that field. I loved the idea of forensic science, or being a profiler, FBI, DEA, etc. You name it, I wanted it. There is just something about crime, the criminal mind, investigations, that I just adore. My perfect job would be sitting in court all day long. I love the banter between the attorneys and the judge. I love hearing about the crimes and listening to testimony. I love trying to figure out the REAL story. I changed jobs every year or two; I moved every year or two; I was always looking for the next best job and the next best place to live.
While I am not a "natural" teacher and while I cannot teach "on the fly" (I have to have lesson plans, I have to have back up plans, I have to have back up to the back up plans while natural teachers can just be unprepared yet be prepared at the same time), teaching is the only job that I have not been bored in.
I may not be a born-teacher, but my heart is there and that is just as important. Teaching is the MOST demanding and stressful job I have every had (including working with victims of domestic violence). I stay because:
- Every day is different.
- Every year is different.
- Every child is different. I miss the criminal justice field (I worked in many different jobs), but I use that to fuel my writing. I refer to my students as "my kids", I still think of students 10 years later and wonder how they are, I miss them still to this day. I remember their worries, their smiles, their fears, etc.
- I can make a difference.
- The paperwork as a special education teacher is insane; I am not treated equal at times; my hands are bound by standardized testing rules; etc. but I love my kids. I just adore them.
- My job has made me stronger: I am not just a teacher, I am an advocate for my children. Their disability will not be who they are. I fight for them no matter who I make angry. They are my first priority when I am at work.
- Writing is my passion; teaching is my job; my students are my loves.