As I have mentioned, this is my first year as a high school English teacher. I graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s degree in English, but I didn’t get certified to teach right away. Instead, I worked as a waitress, nanny, tax office clerk, substitute teacher and day care teacher for 2 year olds. Keep in mind that I’m only 24 years old. I often had multiple jobs at a time and considered going many different directions in life, but teaching was always at the end of the road for me. So about a year after I graduated from college, I decided to enroll in an alternative certification program to finally get certified to teach. I thought I would definitely want to teach 4th grade, I always had wanted to and that’s what I was going to do. Then I went to sign up and the program was only accepting Secondary applicants. Secondary… meaning High School. I did a little soul searching and a whole lot of praying and finally decided to give it a try. At first I was scared to death (Teenagers? High school kids? They’re only a few years younger than I am… they’ll eat me alive!) But I finally decided to go ahead and enroll in the program. After all, they said I only had to teach high school for one year, then I could just take the EC-6 exam and find a job as an elementary teacher once I was officially certified. That was the new plan.
It finally came time to start looking for jobs and putting in applications. I live in a small town where teachers either die or retire from the high school, so I knew finding a job there would be difficult. I started applying at all the neighboring small towns and communities, realizing I would have to drive quite a way to work every day. There was a school about 30 miles down the highway and they were looking for an English teacher. I was asked to come for an interview within a few days of applying, but then after my interview I hadn’t heard anything for a few weeks. I started to get really bummed out because I didn’t think I would get the job. Finally I decided to call the Principal just to let him know that I was still interested and to check on things. As soon as I told him who I was, he offered me the job! I was so excited! My first “big kid” job! A real paycheck! (or so I thought…) Things were finally feeling real. But of course, I was planning on only teaching high school for a year…
When I got to RHS I knew I would never teach anything other than high school. I absolutely love it. I can talk to the kids and be honest and real with them about things and they don’t whine and cry like younger kids do. They understand my sarcastic tone and my witty humor. I can’t ever see myself teaching any kids younger than this.
Within a few minutes of meeting my new coworkers in the English department, I knew I would love it here. Since I am only on a probationary certificate because of the alternative certification program, I had to be assigned a mentor. Mine rocks! After attending a workshop with my fellow “interns” as they call us at the service center, I have heard many horror stories about mentors not helping or doing their required paperwork and I am so grateful for mine!
Not only does my mentor exude awesomeness (shoutout to Mrs. T!) but she also sponsors a group on campus called TAFE (pronounced “taffy”) which stands for Texas Association of Future Educators. I spend a lot of time in her room after school and during our conference period so I have constantly been around this group of kids. They do really great things in the community and they all actually want to be there. I teach students who absolutely hate school and everything to do with it. It gets very disheartening at times, so witnessing these kids who actually WANT to stay late after school and do service projects is very uplifting for me. Yesterday after school, I asked my mentor if she ever needed help with TAFE and after talking for a while, we decided that I would be her co-sponsor! YOU’RE LOOKIN’ AT THE NEW TAFE CO-SPONSOR right here! I am probably way too excited about this, but I can’t wait to be a part of this group! If we had a group like this when I was in high school, I definitely would have joined, so why not just help run the show now? This weekend we are having a “fun run” 5k fundraiser to support breast cancer awareness and donating 100% of the funds. It’s so great to see teenagers who actually want to positively impact their community.
Have a TAFE Tuesday, y’all… even though it’s Wednesday.