That being said, I know many of you making this leap into education might not have any background in working with students and might be met with the same support. Instead you might be met with a lot of, “You seriously want to be a teacher?” or my least favorite response, “Well, you know that they say. Those who can’t do, teach!” There are several people in my program who have left well paying careers, whether they were in research, medical, or business, to follow their passion toward education. My advice to you, if you’re being met with resentment or judgment based on your career choice/ change, is to follow your passion. If there’s one thing I can tell you about urban schools, it is that they NEED more people who have that passion. I know I’ll never make a lot of money. I know I’ll put in more work than 90% of people I interact with will ever recognize. I know I’ll have long days and then even longer days. I know I’ll meet students, parents and colleagues who will drive me up the wall with annoyance, anxiety and frustration. But today a student came into class, ran over to me and said, “Miss Schneider, you have to see this poem I found the other day. It was so amazing!” This student isn’t one of our best readers. She struggles with her writing and constantly needs reminders about fragments, run-ons, punctuation and capitalization. She made a B the first marking period, and literally had to put every ounce of effort she could muster into her work to achieve that B. What we do in class does not come easy to her and there have been times when I have comforted her through tears because she struggles so much. But to see her walk into class, beaming with excitement to tell me, a nerdy poetry enthusiast and representation of authority and all things boring, that she found a poem I would like almost made me cry! To even hear she was spending her free time, which could be spent scrolling through Twitter, watching Netflix, or taking selfies for Instagram, searching YouTube for slam poems made the belaboring process of planning an entire month long unit on poetry all worth it. And as cheesy as it sounds, it really is moments like that one that make everything I struggle with worth it.
You hear this all the time, but I’m not in this for the money. I’m pursuing education because sometimes I get so frustrated by how far behind my students are that I actually stay up at night crying. I get so angry by how limited their opportunities are. My blood boils when I listen to some teachers at my school speak in such a deficient focused way about the same students who bring so much joy and laughter into my life. I am in this because I’ve got a passion for it. And if you do, too… go for it! The students need you. The schools need you. Teachers like me need teachers like you.
There are a whole lot of people who won’t understand this, but our society needs you.
Now that I’ve gotten all emotional and motivational on you, I’ll share some exciting news! I’m currently writing this on a plane to Denver! I didn’t pay the $8 for WiFi, so it’s not in real time, as I’m writing it on a word, but I’m on my way to Colorado for a mini vacation with my long distance partner… and a job interview! Don’t fret, future TEP students, this is NOT the usual time to be searching for jobs or going on interviews. But I’m really interested in moving to Denver and was informed of a really amazing opportunity out there to be the founding ELA teacher at a brand new high school for the 2016/17 school year. I was really intrigued by this professional opportunity, read that they hire on a rolling basis, so I decided to give it a shot. I sent in my resume and cover letter on a whim one weekend and the following Monday was offered a digital interview. After that, they offered to reimburse me for half of my flight and interview me in person! My interview is Monday and I’ll be teaching 30 minutes of a 50-minute lesson I’ve prepared on style and structure to 30 8th graders. I’ve been spending the past few days preparing and living my life somewhere between extremely anxious and ridiculously excited.
I’ll keep you posted on the experience!