As I scurry about getting things ready for tomorrow, my first day of the last semester of the teaching credential program, I find myself wondering about my future students.
Do they have any idea what a curvy path this road to being a teacher has been for me? Yes, the path started back in 1980 right after high school, but that thing called life got in the way. Then the dream of being a teacher fell by the wayside, only to be picked up, brushed off, and presented to me by some fantastic teachers I worked with as an Instructional Aide in Los Angeles. Were it not for those incredible women telling me what a great teacher I would be and questioning me as to why I wasn’t one—well, who knows what road I might have taken after the divorce. So yes, back to community college getting my AA in 2000, then after another few see-saw years, back to university to get my BA in 2004. And now, just a few weeks shy of forty-five (when did THAT happen?!), I’m finally finishing up the teaching credential program.
Do my future students have any idea just how much it costs to embark on this adventure? The student loans I’ll be paying off for ages, the never-ending state or federally mandated exams I must pay to take, and keep taking until they are passed. I honestly wonder how many of those who legislated for some of these exams could actually PASS them! (Gee, can you tell I’m a tad bitter about the cost of the CSET and the fact that it’s virtually impossible to “really” be prepared for since it covers pretty much anything and everything under the sun. See for yourself here by trying the online sample exam…good luck!) Let’s not forget the ridiculous skyrocketing cost of textbooks, which seem to have a new edition each semester, so there’s no way to make any money selling them back or saving any money in buying them used.
Will my future students have any idea that the reason most of us enter the profession (that sincere desire to truly assist students in achieving their full potential educationally and as productive, happy members of society), quite often gets lost in the reality of what teaching has become. The politics of what to teach, when to teach it, how to teach it. The way in which classrooms have become standard-driven instead of driven by the needs of the individual student. The time spent trying to remain professional when dealing with well-intentioned (and some not-so-well-intentioned) parents who think they know better how to handle your classroom than you do.
Nope, my future students probably will never know any of that. But you know what? That’s okay. I know that while there were many bumps in the road on my way to becoming their teacher, my passion for this profession never waned and hopefully never will. All they need to know is there is no place I’d rather be.