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Being a Teacher...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I love teaching...


Like most twenty-something-year-olds (well, at least the ones that I hang with) I am in the office today. I am right in front of the computer, doing work...click...click...clicking away. The only difference is that I am in my worn out "Brazil" turquoise shirt, my grey knee-length sweatpants, no shoes, no makeup, drinking coffee out of my own personalized mug, about to create a grilling masterpiece for lunch on a fabulous wooden patio ( with dining set and umbrella), and I have a manager that loves me (although she has gotten quite annoyed with my personal phone use) unconditionally.


Now don't get me wrong, I have a long " to do" list, but what better place to do it than at home. And believe it or not, this is a day that I have made a super sacrifice, (because since I have been home) I: had a great bridal shower with my Cincinnati girls, went shopping (food, literature, and clothes) like five times, been to the pool every day this week (but drank way too many virgin margaritas... I had an awful headfreeze...tough life), read some incredible books and articles, written some fairly good pieces, I have gone to lunch/movies "Ratatouille" (so good, although my mother and sister couldn't get over the fact that there was a rat in the kitchen- the point is- anyone can cook and you don't have to fit in the categories other people have made for you), I've had hours worth of family/ world event/ political/ business convos with my brother and dad (just like old times) during the commercial breaks of the news, I've eaten some amazing food (salmon pasta w/spinach and a slight taste of cilantro and grilled pizza) and checked out the traveling prices (to Paris, South Africa, London, etc). All this while watching my family and friends rush to their jobs.


As I sat at the swim club yesterday, I noticed that there were small children, lifeguards, young women (high school/college), a few men, older women (still in their bathing suits, soaking up the sun and enjoying their frozen drinks/water/pop while reading paperback novels), and women in my age group. After catching up with many of them (because I have belonged to the swim club since the age of like...9), I realized about 70% of the women in my age group and older were teachers or were/are involved in the educational system in some way. All of these teachers much like myself decided that they would not work the summers.


As we sat there many of us gushed about our kids, the funny things that they say, how they react to us, and the excitement of the job. And anyone that knows me, you know that I can talk about my "babies" all day, every day. The stories never end.

Most of the teachers worked in completely different settings as I did. So they would ask me - "what do you teach and what are the demographics of your students?" Many of them, looked astonished when I told them, " 8th grade English- in a NY public school- lower east side Manhattan." The next question was always "how was that?" with a concerned look on their faces. And I would have to tell them that it was the most amazing time in my life and I would have to tell them about all the fun things that we did this year. For instance: this year my students created multigenre student magazines, at the end of the year we had a publishing party (where most of my students showed up, my entire grade team (I love them), and administration- on a Friday night), there was a cool New York DJ, catered food, music, my students' work being published, a spoken word segment, a cameraman (hey Mike), and their artwork (it was also an art show...a collaboration with my girl Terri (the art teacher)). Not to mention, fairly good New York state tests and fun field trips.

I don't think that there is another job that I could wake up and not want to be there (rarely), but see my students and totally forget that feeling. Every week flew by and I had so much freedom. Other than performance, state, and teaching checks, I was allowed complete freedom of my classroom and the things that I taught. I worked with a really young, educated (many of my colleagues went to ivy or near ivy schools...Harvard, Columbia, etc.- but regardless of where they attended school- they were extremely smart and many were very passionate about teaching), well-traveled (I work at an international school, so breaks were filled with trips to Morrocco, Spain, Paris, etc. ) staff, which kept me on my toes.


Now don't get me wrong there were some really hard days (and a few hard weeks) but all in all, it was one of the best years of my life and I look forward to getting better as a teacher, a role model, Councilor, and writer (it was my students that said, "Ms. Stone you should be a writer...you write so goooood and it is always funny and interesting" -in case you are wondering- yes, those students got A's)


Me, being a teacher and loving it, is a great example of how the Lord works. Here is a true story: When in highschool, my English teacher, asked me about one of my short story pieces (I wrote a piece, that was mediocre at best..). "Shelby, I have read your writing and I know how much potential you have...what would you do in my place...what would you do if you were an English teacher?" And my response, (in all honesty) "Well, I dunno...I can't think like a teacher...because that is the last thing I will be...I will never be a teacher...I mean...an English teacher at that!" Needless to say, I got a bad grade and a love for teaching 4-6 years later, when I took my first step into a classroom (the summer of 06').


Moral of the blog: God works in mysterious ways...you just have to trust in Him, anyone can cook, and teaching is the best job ever (for now...who knows what I'll be doing in 5-10 years...maybe a famous writer and professor/ teacher)

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