Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reflections on almost 16 years of teaching; Times Flies When You Are Having Fun!

ME!

Yesterday, while eating dinner on my balcony, I started to think about my teaching career. I was thinking about the idea that next year will be my 5th year teaching at the school where I currently teach, and I have never been at the the same school for more than four years in my fifteen and a half years of teaching. (Follow your heart, and don't second guess it, and you will will know when to leave a job and when to stay!)

My first teaching job was in a juvenile center in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a holding place for students who were waiting to go to court for crimes that they may have committed. I am not sure why someone would place a twenty-three year old rookie teacher in a juvenile school, but I am so happy that they did. (We are always being prepared for next.)

My next teaching job was in Detroit, Michigan, and being from rural Alabama, I had never been in an inner city high school with metal detectors before. But, I am so happy that I ended up there. I worked in a school with very limited resources and no air conditioning. (Yes, Detroit does get hot.) However, I really did some great teaching there. I was stretched to make a way out of no way, and I did it. At this school with limited resources, I fell in love with teaching and literature. At this school is where I also fell in love with Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. (However, when it's time to go; it's time to go!) Faith is taking one step at a time, even if you don't know where you are headed.

I really wanted to move to the DC area and work in Fairfax County, and that happened. DC was placed on my heart a long time ago. Didn't know why at the time, but it's crystal clear now. I use to say, "Everything that I need is in the DC area," and that statement is so true. However, I was not a fan of Fairfax County; I really wanted to work in a smaller district so......(You must know when to leave, and KNOW that everything will be alright.)

I tried a job outside of teaching for about three months, and I was a like a fish out of water; I am suppose to always work with words and maybe children.

Taking that job outside of teaching helped me to really understand that I am a "words person", and that is what I am suppose to do; work with words. This is when I also learned that the advice that people gives, tells you a whole lot about the people giving the advice.

This lady told me that I should take any teaching job just to get back in the door; maybe teach history. (A lover of literature teaching history? "Oh yea of little faith!")

I got a teaching job in an awful county in an awful school, but I was surrounded by some of the most talented teachers that I have ever met. Limited resources and horrible working conditions did not keep us from reaching our teaching peak. I did some of my best teaching at this school, and this is when I started teaching and fell in love with Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. However, sometimes you must save yourself, and I could not longer teach in that environment so, after two years, I  moved on.......

The next school was much better and my teaching skills were getting better and better. However, I knew that this was not where I would be for long, I just had that feeling so.... after four years, I moved on.....

I ended up in a pure hell situation for a year, and I am so grateful for it, because that horrible teaching situation really, really, and I mean really, helps me to stay in a state of gratitude about where I currently teach. (Just know, there are teachers and students who are going to horrible places everyday in this country.)

Now, I am at a school that I really like. Yes, it has problems, but day to day, I am able to use words to inspire. I feel good about my teaching abilities, my knowledge of my subject matter, the relationships that I have cultivated etc.

I'm in a place where I do not need validation of my teaching abilities anymore; I know what I know and is willing to learn what I don't know. Every place where I have taught, I grew and invested in my best thing: ME.

Next year will be my fifth year at a school, and I am looking forward to it......Longevity does have its place as well.....

I'm just thinking!!!!!!

I can't shut my brain off.......




6 comments:

Tracy Ricks said...

When we were young we would ALWAYS play school and you REFUSED to let ANYONE else be the teacher. Still wondering WHY we all (me and the neighborhood kids) sit there week after week while you tortured us with school. Lol you are definetly in your God given purpose and I am VERY proud of what a great teacher you are.(don't correct my grammar).congratulations!

Jacqueline said...

Thanks Tracy! You know that I like to lead.....

Dorothy Reed said...

This is great reflection. I wish students could read who are second guessing if they want to be teachers.

Jacqueline said...

Dot, so many teachers end up in situations that are just not good for them, and instead of changing their environment, they leave the profession, which is such a tragedy!

Toya said...

And teaching alongside you in that awful place in an awful district made me a better teacher and gave me some friendships that I hold close to my heart. Proof that you can even have joy in the valley :) Great post!

Jacqueline said...

Toya, you guys are the most talented teachers I have ever worked with, and I agree that we found "joy in the valley."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...