I’ve always been a teacher. Even before I received my teaching credentials 34 years ago, I was the one who Mr. Wells asked to help Kim Hull learn how to do his story problems. I always knew I’d become a real teacher some day because Kim told me I was the first one who ever explained it to him in a way he could actually understand.
Now, I wasn’t ever one of “those who can’t, who teach,” and I always knew it. My high-school guidance counselors had advised me not to go into education because I would be “wasting my brain.” They suggested that due to my 98th percentile math scores, I should go into engineering. But I was undaunted, because I knew that in reality I already was a teacher. I just needed to go to school to get a piece of paper to make it official so I could get paid for it. I was very clearly told that I wasn’t making the best financial choice that I could, but that didn’t matter in the least—I was out to change the world—one student at a time.
I finished college in three years, and began teaching third grade in 1976 at the age of 21, and I’ve never looked back. I found what all who become teachers know, that being a teacher is so much more than a job. It’s always been my passion, my mission, even my identity.
Being a great teacher came naturally to me. Now that doesn’t mean it’s ever been an easy job. I’ve always found it exhausting, challenging, frustrating, and very rewarding—in other words, a perfect job for somebody who needs their brain to be challenged in ways they could never imagine. I went from being able to focus on only one or two things at a time, to being able to easily manage twenty or thirty on-going projects or ideas. Over the years I’ve improved my creativity, flexibility, problem solving skills, and sense of humor.
I’ve taught grades three through six, and felt very lucky that I never felt I was in a rut. I knew people who got burned out, but it honestly never happened to me. I knew I was very blessed to find the perfect occupation. I’ve changed how I do things in my classroom many times, incorporating new ideas, trying new things, always learning, always changing, and loving every minute of it. I’ve always been told in every way that I’m a great teacher, but I honestly didn’t need to be told, because I could feel it. That is, until recently.( Collapse )Source