Friday, October 25, 2013

My Story-The Next Chapter

Yesterday, I began sharing with you my story of teaching and my struggles and successes along the way.  After reading so many teacher blogs lately about frustrating situations and burnout, I felt like it may be time to share my story with my readers and let other people know that they are not alone.  There is a reason for every season!

My Story-Chapter 2
After searching for a job for several months and continually praying for the right place to go, I was offered a job at a small public school in Central KY.  The commute would be about 25 minutes from our new house and it was an exciting time for our whole family.  We moved in June of 2010 and settled into our new home quickly.  We came here not knowing a soul, except my friend, Mandy's sister, Misty.  I am thankful for her being here and introducing me to some great people that are my new friends today.

I spent a majority of my summer nervous about a new school and homesick.  There were several days that I wondered if I had done the right thing and I missed my family and my old school something awful!  As the summer went on and I was allowed into the school building, I was quickly overwhelmed with the work that needed to be done.  I'm not even talking about paperwork, I mean physical labor here people.  I shared a room with another special ed teacher and her side of the room looked great, but the part I inherited...not-so-much!  I spent several days moving out furniture and pitching junk in a trash can!  Besides the mess that I walked into, I also walked into a school that was the opposite of what I had recently taught at.  This school was in a high minority, high poverty area.  I was warned about the severe needs of my students and the extreme behaviors of some others.  It definitely made this country girl nervous.  This was the closest to "inner city" that I could imagine.  Honestly, some of the stories that I was told made me extremely nervous about working in this school and made me miss home even more.

I must say that although the building was not new and there was a lot of work to do with the students, I was welcomed to the school with open arms and a good attitude.  I will forever be indebted to a few wonderful teachers there.  Cyndee was my special ed partner in crime and she showed me the ropes and the ways of this school district.  The other person is Janet.  Janet became my mom here!  She became my go to person and my surrogate mom (because now I lived 4 and a half hours from my mom).  Janet and I were co-teachers and we could speak to each other in class without saying a word.  We even told our class that I was her daughter and they believed us!  I am proud to call her "mom," when I had to be so far from my own.  I spent many an afternoon spilling my guts to her, sharing my joys, and unloading my burdens.  There were tough circumstances for many of my students (things I had never dealt with before) and Janet showed me support and gave me ways to handle the new kids and situations I faced, all while being my friend and confidant.

During my three years at PES, I encountered many struggles and because the people there are so near and dear to me, I don't feel as if I should share everything that was tough.  One of the biggest challenges for me was coming from a large school district to a very small school district (one elementary-about 300ish kids, one middle, and one high school).  This place was tiny in comparison to my previous district.  There were many times that I felt alone and unsure how to handle situations, because I didn't have a lot of people to bounce ideas off of.  Our special education department consisted of 2 special ed. teachers, speech therapist, OT, and special education director/school psychologist.  Honestly, if there was a problem and one of us didn't have an answer there wasn't really anywhere else to turn.  I can remember one student that I worked with that had some challenging behaviors.  I tried everything that I knew to do to modify his behavior and implemented strategies to keep him in the regular classroom, but for all of my efforts and the advice of others, it was nearly impossible.  Sometimes special education can be a lonely field, just because there aren't as many of us out there and schools usually only have a few sped teachers unlike the several regular education teachers at all grade levels.

My first year there, I felt like it was my calling to be there.  God had opened doors for me and placed me where I needed to be.  There were kids there that needed me and I worked as hard as I could to meet their needs.  The second year, I felt like I should stay and see my kids through another year and the one kid in particular (that I mentioned early) was making progress and I felt compelled to stay and help him and his family.  By the third year, I knew in my heart that my time here was almost over.  The student I worked so hard to help moved away and another student that stole my heart and helped me grow as a teacher was headed to middle school.  I could do longer feel the compelling pull to stay.  I was ready to go and ready to grow.  This brings me almost up to present day, friends.  ;)

I began searching for a new job in the spring and as you know I did find a new school home.  This second chapter of my teaching career was a learning and growing experience.   It gave me the opportunity to work with a population of students different than what I was accustomed to and it gave me challenge of finding and implementing new ideas.  I think this is where I grew the most into a leader and realized more of my dream of becoming a teacher that helps other teachers.  I love, love my students and want to continue working with kids for several years to come, but it also opened my eyes to new opportunities in leadership and gave me the confidence to try new things. I know several of you reading this are in a place that you are not that excited about, but I promise you that you are there for a purpose.  God is growing something inside of you.  He is giving you a challenge and helping you to grow.  I know situations can be tough, but this too shall pass and you will come out better for what you go through in the end.

Tomorrow-The New School :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments make me smile! :)