Hello world! Welcome to my blog! So starting today, I’m going to start a little side project called, Career Day. I will be, in a way, interviewing friends, acquaintances, and maybe even strangers about what they do for their job or what they’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe someone out there is curious about other career or job possibilities? Or maybe just curious about what each career or job entails. In the process, everyone gets to learn a bit about that person and in a way, that person can get their story out there to the world (hopefully).
So with that, I do have one volunteer today for my first ever Career Day blog. This woman is a long time friend and I think she is brilliant! Say hello to Linda! So I’ve asked her a few questions and I’ll just post her answers as I go. Here goes…
First of all, what do you do?
“I’m an educator. I work with youth ages 11-13, maybe even 14 since they return, visit, and volunteer. “
How long have you been doing this?
“Three amazing years!”
Would you like to share how you got your job, like what you had to do?
“Getting here was the easy part. Just be committed and be involved while pursuing your degree and meeting the prerequisites. I majored in liberal studies to get to where I am but, if I could do my undergraduate years all over, I would. I would redo it and major, instead, in a degree which will compliment my teaching career. I’d select a degree that would provide me in-depth knowledge and skills in a particular subject rather than a degree that exposes me to minimal knowledge in various subjects. I’d major in psychology instead, maybe even nursing. Pretty much anything other than liberal studies. One of the biggest misconceptions, is believing you must major in liberal studies in order to get into the credentials program. One of the most stressful things I had to do to get here, was taking five —maybe even more, I’ve lost track—different state tests just to ‘prove’ that I’m competent to be a teacher. Although, I don’t believe tests prove anyone’s competency in teaching—maybe a little.”
What is one thing you like about your job?
“My job, like any other job, isn’t easy. People or the community has this perception of educators as babysitters. But, oh boy, they are so far from the truth. I can tell you many of the things I hate about my job but you only need to know one because I don’t actually have a list of things I hate about my job. I hate the politics that exist in our school systems. They deprive our children of what they need and disregard them as human beings. If I spent all day delving in the politics of our school systems, I’d quit my job because I hate it! But there’s one thing about my job that I absolutely love and this reason outweighs all the nonsense that surrounds my job. My students! Nothing beats going to work and spending all day with teenagers. They are full of stories. They are surprising, fun, and at their most curious stage of life. They ask about everything and their trust in you is unbreakable. This is what keeps me going day after day, and year after year. Each year is a brand new year, because each year, I have new students and no students are the same!”
What is one of the most challenging things about your job?
“The most challenging thing about my job is trying to do everything a teacher is required to do. Again, people perceive educators as babysitters. We are perceived as a place for students to hangout until their parents/guardians get off work. And again, they are sooooo far from the truth. As an educator, it’s extremely overwhelming to work in primary and secondary schools, like myself. You serve as a psychologist, therapist, social worker, life coach, parent, and then lastly their teacher. The truth is, I care more about the students having a safe place to be, than about the curriculum or standards the states mandate. Curriculum and standards are the least of my priorities. Students don’t learn until they know you care for them. The learning piece is easy for any kid, they just need to know you actually care. Because, come on, learning eight hours a day and five days a week can become extremely boring. But if they know you care and you’re there every day not because of the damn standards, they will learn because they will not want to disappoint you. So…pretty much my entire job is a challenge. Did I mention that if you aren’t patient, then this job is not for you? You’d have a lot of trouble going to work everyday and a huge issue with building relationships and trust with these kids.”
Do you have any advice for anyone who might want to pursue the same kind of work you do or just some words of wisdom for anyone who is pursuing other goals?
“A good friend of mine said, ‘If you focus on the politics that run outside of your classroom, you’d go insane and loose yourself and your purpose. But, if you focus on the 35 students in front of you, you’d always do the right thing and know your purpose.’ There were many moments in my three years of teaching that I’ve questioned why I’m there. I’ve felt hopeful and I’ve lost my purpose. I’ve wanted to quit many times. Administration doesn’t care about us and the government doesn’t even know we exist. It’s all about the money. However, when I find myself in this hole, I remind myself of the advice my friend shared. If I just focus on my students, I am reminded of my purpose and my why. I am reminded why I chose to become an educator, because these kids need me. I don’t need any administrator or government official to need or recognize me because, my students need me. They need an adult who cares, they need a safe place to be themselves, and they need someone to believe them! If you ever go into this career, make sure you really know your purpose and why. If it’s for the money, I’m going to tell you to change your career right now! But if you’re in it for the kids and you don’t care much about the damn standards, then you are made for this job!”
And there ya have it! Linda! Her answers are inspiring! She is definitely VERY passionate about her job. I actually do not know many people as dedicated. Way to go, Linda! And keep striving to make the lives of these kids better each day. To whomever reads this post, remember… compassion, dedication, patience, and the right attitude can help you go far as an educator or teacher.
Alright everyone! Thanks for reading! Just FYI, you can also be featured on these blog posts too! You can send me a message through the contact link on this website, or if you follow me on Facebook at TimfullyTim Blog, you can message me through that as well. Share your story with the world and show everyone what you can do! Share with the world what other jobs are out there. Until next time! ~~ yours truly, Tim.