Friday, June 27, 2008

A New Journey

On Tuesday evening, I received the phone call I had been waiting for. I got a fourth grade teaching position! So many emotions are running through me, which is probably part of the reason it has taken this long to write about it. And now that I'm typing, I still can't come up with the words to describe it. I feel like I've been given an opportunity to have a positive impact on many lives. Wow.

In two weeks, I start teaching summer school (1st grade); that last for four weeks. I will then have two weeks before I meet the students I will be spending several months with. Again, wow.

~A little history~ I didn't go to college after high school; I had a short stint in the A.F. Marriage and children were soon after. When the older three were younger, I was a stay at home mom. When Kyle was 7 months old and Chelsey was 2 and 1/2, I started taking care (8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week) of sisters that were the same age as Chelsey and Kyle. This lasted for a couple of years, and I then took care of a little boy that was Kyle's age. Having other children around for Kyle, and eventually Matt, was a good thing. They learned so much about playing "make believe." I know, such a basic thing to learn. Chelsey and the other little girl were masters of it!
At some point, I started waiting tables part-time in the evenings. This ensured that either John or I would be there for the kids (occasionally Mom would come to the rescue when our schedules overlapped a little). I remember when I first started, it wasn't like going to work.... I felt like I was going on a vacation! After all the kids were all in school, I worked even more, days and evenings.

Then, in Dec. of 99, one of the waitresses I had worked with told me about a job she had tried but just couldn't do. There was a little boy in kindergarten who had autistic type characteristics, but at this point, the testing process had just begun. Let's just say that he wasn't handling kindergarten social skills very well. I practically fell in love with him before I even met him. I worked with him until half way through 2nd grade. It was then, January of 2003, that I started taking classes at an IU campus about 45 minutes from our home. I finished in December of 2006. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, in August (maybe September) of 2005, I found out I was pregnant. That semester, I had a very full schedule, including an accelerated class that was from, like, 5:45-10:00 p.m., once a week for 6 weeks! It was at the beginning of the pregnancy, and I was so tired. The second semester was a doozy too because in my schedule was an evening class that met two nights a week; it was an micro-economics class that I was taking because I wasn't going to be able to take the one that they offer to education majors. The education one was a two week class that started in mid-may.....Evan was due May 17. Classes were over the first week of May, and Evan was born May 23.
I still had one thing left to do---my student teaching. I debated (and cried a lot) about waiting another semester before doing it. I came to the conclusion, though, that if I didn't just get it done, I may never get it done. So there I was, bringing my Medela pump to school so that I could continue to breastfeed. What a journey! I was extremely fortunate to have a wonderful teacher to work with. She was understanding and helped me through the semester. It could have been disastrous had I ended up with a teacher that wasn't so kind. AND, I also couldn't have done it if I didn't have my mom close by to watch Evan. There is no way I could have trusted someone else to take care of him.
I graduated in December of 2006, but I was in no hurry to find a job. I didn't send out my resumes until June, which resulted in me not getting a job. Then in August, when I was registering the kids for school, I heard that there was an opening for a paraprofessional in the Lifeskills class (moderate and severe disabilities). I got that job; what an awesome experience! I'm going to miss those kids next year---I'm going to be in our other elementary school.
NOW, the search for someone to care for Evan begins............that's another story.....
**Update on Matt's shirt**
I finally fixed Matt's shirt yesterday morning. With a reserved smile, he said, "That was fast. You don't have to be that fast."
Uh, let's see. He was reminding me almost every hour. Yes, I had to be that fast.
More from Matt--We were driving home yesterday and passed someone with a cute bear costume (advertising). The bear was waving, and as we passed, he gave us the thumbs up. Matt, who was quite visibly sitting in the front seat, gave him a very visible thumbs down. He then said very casually, "If he wants to wrestle, I'll take him down!" So brave from far away. If we were to get out of the van, he wouldn't go anywhere near that bear!


Kim said...

Congratulations again! Weren't you working while going to school?

Chelsey said...

hahahahahahaha...he would :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations :) That is awesome. I wish my baby girl could be in your class. I know you would be compassionate towards you know what fragile x

Jen said...

Yes Kim, I was working part-time...I forgot about that!
fxsmom--I wish I could be your daughter's teacher too! People often asked or still ask me about getting a degree for special ed. After working with the boy with autism, who was in a gen. ed. class, I realized how I could make a difference for someone like him by being a general ed. teacher. I'm looking forward to having a classroom with students of ALL abilities!

daisygirl said...

Congratulations! I'm so excited for you!