My Journey to Success, part 1.

8:08 AM

Today I'm going to be blunt and brag about myself. Which I think is completely fine for people to do from time to time. I'm going to talk about my journey to "success" and how I've accomplished my most recent long term goal - becoming a certified Language Arts teacher.



Let me take you back to the 90's, when I was about 9 years old. Maybe I was older, but it's kind of a blur. I remember staying at my grandmothers house on the weekends, and playing with the chalkboard she had set up in my room. I remember watching her write in impressive cursive, and sitting at the little white desk copying what she wrote down. It was here that I realized I loved school, and I loved teachers. 

Fast forward a few years to when my sister was old enough to annoy the crap out of me. My family and I had a pretty large garage, that doubled as a playroom for my sister and I. At this point my love for teaching grew, and my mom was kind enough to transform my area into a makeshift classroom. I had the infamous chalkboard, a dry erase board, bulletin board, an easel, endless writing supplies, and grading books that my grandmother had given to me from her school. I was obsessed. I would drag my sister out to the garage daily to "play school" (I give myself credit for her getting into an early college program). This was my life. I loved creating worksheets, teaching pretend students, and making up schedules for those students. I taught hundreds of different children - some who loves reading, some who enjoyed science and would ace their chem test, and others who were trouble makers and I had to send to the "principals office". I had subconsciously decided my career path at age 12, without a thought about what else was out there. 

Our next stop on nostalgia lane is high school. When I was a junior, I started my first internship as a teacher's assistant. At this point in my life, I had narrowed down my subject to Science. I had an amazing biology teacher who actually probably hated me, but her constant pushing motivated me and made me want to please her. She was smart and she was sassy and I grew to love biology because of her. Thinking about it now, she wasn't that spectacular of a teacher, because she was kind of rude, but she knew biology like the back of her hand, and she held extremely high expectations for us. I began my internship in Biology, which turned into Physical Science once I was a senior. My second internship was the most significant. I learned two things - 1, I hated lab days. I didn't want to conduct experiments with my kids and grade lab reports, & 2, I needed to be teaching something with more creative flexibility. I turned to English, and explored the possibility of being a Language Arts teacher. I had an amazing British Literature teacher to thank for that. I went to college with a major picked out, English Education. 


//my first college football game\\

As usual, life threw some curve-balls at me. I jumped right into my English classes head first, and found myself buried in papers. I loved it, but I also wondered if my future 12th graders were going to want my more childlike creativity that I had envisioned for my classroom. I wondered if I could develop the type of professional relationships with them that I had imagined, or if my personality was fit for a 'mature' high school class like my own British Lit college class. As I entered Western's education program, I was required to do a small observation of any classroom I wanted too. I chose an 8th grade Social Studies class (more specifically, my own 8th grade teachers classroom) just to expand my horizons, and also to visit old teachers. Yes, I am that student who visits teachers 6 years later. I will always believe that this 8th grade classroom possessed some kind of magic, because I left that day immediately wanting to change my major. I was obsessed with the kids, I was obsessed with the content, and I knew that was an area that I needed to be in. It seemed like I had found the place where my creative and weird personality fit, and a place where I could positively influence children. I drove back up to Western the following week and scheduled a meeting with my adviser - I wanted to be a middle school teacher.

I'm sure this story is getting redundant and long, so I'll try to speed things up. If you're still with me, you must really be interested in my success, or you're my dad (hi dad!). After deciding on an age group and two specialties (English & History), I zoomed through a set of easy English classes & hard History classes. Throughout this journey I found a wonderful mentor, became close with my middle grades peers (when I started the program there was only a handful of us) and experienced moments of extreme frustration. One moment stands out - the day I was advised to stop being 'me' on my blog and YouTube channel.

|| a few of my Vlogtober posts on the channel ||

I remember this moment very vividly - I had gotten a call from a professor about scheduling a meeting to discuss an 'issue' that had come to their attention. At this point I was just coming into my senior year and had been actively blogging since my Freshman year. I had spent the summer dabbling in the YouTube community, and realized very quickly that this digital medium was something I loved just as much as being a teacher. I spent the summer creating lookbooks, advice, and comedy videos. My favorites were the ones where I just sat in front of a camera and talked (& talked & talked & talked...) I learned that I enjoyed being sarcastic and funny on camera, and I looked forward to growing my channel into something big. So. when I sat down in this professors office and was reprimanded for content on my blog and YouTube channel, I felt defeated, angry, hurt, and small.

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Stay tuned for part two where you'll learn how to stay true to yourself in a professional way. get a deeper look into an intern's day-to-day life, and learn how to balance two passions at once.

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