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8/11/08

When I grow up, I want to be...

I suppose I could be put into the category of "mid-life career change", except that: a) I hope at 33 I am not at "mid-life", and b) I never really had a career to change from.

After I graduated from high school (in December--'92), I had a baby (in April--'93). In June of that year, I moved with my parents from Indiana to Tennessee. And in trying to keep some sense of normalcy, I started college in the fall, like most college graduates.

I had wanted to be a doctor for quite some time, and my parents were supportive of that. Early in my second semester, my advisor called me in for a meeting. She was the instructor for the Medical Technology department. I cannot remember what happened, but the next thing I knew I was applying to the program which I ultimately got into.

That fall, I started out pretty strong. Long story short. I failed out the Spring semester and was knocked out of the program.

BUT! I was getting married! No worries right?

We all know that didn't quite work out like I had imagined.

Anyway, fast forward a new husband, two more children, and a need to make more money. Hey, we all do! Right, Sally?

I was working as a Merchandiser for American Greetings, a job -by the way- I miss to this day. But, at the time, I felt like I needed to make more money whilst I waited for the next big promotion.

I managed to land a job as a Substitute Food Service Associate. Fan-Cee. I worked at the high school and really loved it. The second year I worked, I went in at 7:30 (ish) and got off at 2:00. I was still working for AG, and it was taking it's toll on me. The interim position that was supposed to be only six weeks long (then I would go back to just a sub) and it went on until Spring Break.

At any rate, that year, my sons first grade teacher needed a volunteer to come in and tutor some kids. For an entire year, every Tuesday and Thursday, I would help three little boys with whatever they needed. Once I got started, I began to look forward to going. I had done the usual things at the school (and in the class) before, but I began to see things in a whole new light. The whole class would light up when I got there.

Meanwhile, over at the high school, if you don't think that the lunch ladies don't pay attention to the kids, I am here to tell you, they do. (Or maybe it was just me) Because I had been working for so long, Central Office declared I be made a "full-time" employee, and I got all the benefits that came with it. With my new status, I got to work the cash register. It became my mission to make someone's day daily. I realized the kids weren't that scary after all.

I was enjoying being around the kids so much, that I contemplated becoming a substitute teacher the next fall. After checking into it, I found out I had the credentials. Plus, Mrs. First Grade teacher started in on me on how I would be a good teacher. The boys loved working with me.

The day that made the whole idea concrete will forever be etched on my mind.

I was working with the boys. On that day, I was holding up sight words and they were to make sentences with them. Two of the boys made the typical sentences. When I got to the third, his word was 'they'.

"Yesterday, we went to they house."

Y'all.

I thought I was going to laugh myself silly. I normally wouldn't have laughed in front of the kids, but that was just BEYOND precious to me. When I retold the story to Mrs. First Grade Teacher, she was all, "Yeah. I get that everyday. It never gets old."

The next fall (summer-pfft) I applied to be a substitute teacher. After my first couple of days in the classroom (which was at the high school-ironically enough) I fell in LOVE. But, it was going to a fifth grade class at our elementary school that sealed my fate.

The next fall, I started back to school myself. Two weeks from today, I start my second year.

And to my friend Beverly, that I laughed at when were in college in '93? I am sorry that I said your major (Elementary Ed) was too easy. You got the last laugh, girl.

I have never worked so hard in my life. And I can't imagine doing anything else.

Anyone else changing careers?

7 comments:

Courtney said...

I didn't know you went to medical school! That's nuts. That and elementary ed are two things I could NEVER do. Both seem impossible to me.

MamaHenClucks said...

Ok, first I just have to say that I love that you do a), b), etc. I am a lister and my hubby totally makes fun of me.

I am not doing a career change yet, but I have a BA in History and one in Great Plains Studies. Useful degree, huh? I'm about halfway done with my Masters in Education so in about one year when my youngest starts school, it's something new since 10 years ago. Right now I spend as much time in the school helping in Chickie Boy's class as they let me, so I totally know what you mean.

Good Luck and congrats to you for following your dream!

Kelsey S said...

Seriously med school? You make me feel so stupid!
Kelsey
mysweetlife.org

Meh said...

As many drugs as I have had in the last few years, I could probably get my degree in pharmaceuticals....LOL

looksgoodinpolkadots said...

Yay for you! I started out in Ed... then switched to Nursing. Someday, maybe I will go finish up my MAT. Around here, you have to be a licensed Teacher already to be a sub! Bummer. But I'm seriously considering doing sub Teacher Aide work this year.

Cheers!
Jamie

(Found you via the Blog Train!)

Angela said...

I have subbed before too, when I was a flight attendant - it was a great second job with the flexibility. Anyhow, it opened my eyes to teaching as my real job, and when my kids are both in school I hope to go back and teach Special ed. That was my favorite to sub for!

Found you via the Blog Train!

Elouise82 said...

(I'm also here via the blog train)

At 26, I'm definitely not in mid-life yet, but I'm also seeing my goals, if not career, change. Two years ago, I was applying to school to finally finish my B.A. in English, so I could get my career as an author started.

Now I am the mom to an adorable nine-month-old, putting school on hold indefinitely, and writing in between diaper changes and feedings. It certainly takes some getting used to!

I think it's marvelous that you have the courage to go back and totally change your career, to realize what you love and take whatever steps necessary to get there. It's inspirational!

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