Monday, January 11, 2016

A Piece of Paper Doesn't Make You a Teacher







I mentioned in a previous post that 2015 was not a good year.  Part of the reason is was so stressful is because I had to take not one, but two classes in order to renew my teaching license.  Of course, your teaching license is good for 5 years.  It's not like I didn't have advance notice to the fact that my license would expire in June 2015.  

Note to self..Don't ever say this..."Oh, I have 5 years left to do something that I need to do by the end of 5 years.  That's easy! I have so much time!"  

Yeah, don't ever say that.  

So here I was in 2015 scrambling to make it all happen.  BUT, I did make it happen and today when we got home, I said, "Emmett did you get the mail?" and he said, "Yes, and you got a package that says DO NOT BEND."  Boom!  I knew what it was right away.  (by the way, the mailman bent the envelope to fit it in the mailbox.  I was mad.  But only until I put it in the frame and it didn't matter.)

So here is the situation.  I want to dedicate this "piece of paper" to my sister, Bonnie.  She always supported me through college when I was absolutely frustrated about all the fake lessons I had to act out and my professors who would fall asleep in class.  (I was also frustrated when I had an allergic reaction to my acne medication and my roommate had to come pick me up from class because my fever was so high I almost passed out in the middle of one of the lesson plan I was presenting)  

Bonnie would tell me over and over again when I was complaining, "Just get the piece of paper.  It's a piece of paper."  And that's what I did!  

I was a teacher before I ever went to school to be a teacher.  

I was a teacher when I was playing school in the basement as a child working at an old desk.  

I was a teacher when I was working on my older siblings workbook pages that were tossed in a box in the basement.  

I was a teacher when I moved to Staunton, VA and became one of the first faculty members of the new school, Guardian Angel Academy.   When I was given that teaching position, my mentor at the time in Front Royal watched me teach a group of her students for a few minutes and afterward, she said, "How would you feel about moving to Staunton and working at my new school?"
So I taught for a couple of years before actually heading to college to pursue a bachelor's degree and teaching license.  As a result of real life teaching experience before taking college classes, I found the fake lesson plans to be somewhat tedious, not real, like FAKE and FRUSTRATINGLY NOT REAL.  
In a REAL classroom, you can NEVER go into a lesson assuming it is going to go a certain way or that you are going to be able to actually follow the lesson plan exactly.  You have to be ready for anything.  College classes that simulate the teaching experience just don't come close the what it is like to do it in real life.  Hence, my frustration in going to school to be a teacher after I actually became a teacher.  

However, I have to say that my student teaching experience was invaluable.  I really enjoyed that.  I also really enjoyed going to Damon's with my friends on Thursday nights and drinking a few beers with my roommate.  Ahh, but that's another blog post...

So here we are, about 19 years after I started my undergrad schooling in Steubenville, OH for my Bachelor's in education (I had already earned my Associate's in Liberal Arts in 1995 from Christendom College).  

I am so happy to report that I have been able to keep up my professional teaching license throughout so many life changes!  (Insert applause, cheers, and pats on the back right here!)

I owe much of the perseverance in my studies to my sister who has also been a professional mentor, friend, mother figure (she helped raise me and change my diapers, too), confidant and much much more to me through the years.  

She helped me to stay focused on the "piece of paper"  and to not give up on the system.

I also cannot forget all my friends and family who listen to me complain, rant, and even ignore them to write papers and everything else that comes with taking on too much!  

The children were so happy for me when that "piece of paper" came in the mail today.  Celebrating this little accomplishment with them meant more than anything.  

So yes, a piece of paper doesn't automatically make you a teacher, but it gives you the legitimacy you need to be in the system and to be taken more seriously in professional environments, of course.  

I won't be a home educating mom forever.  I want to keep up my teaching license in order to keep professional options open for the future.  
With that said, though, being a home educating licensed teacher is the BEST because it is actually not even considered home schooling in the eyes of the state.  It falls under a different category. Fewer boxes to check and stuff like that. 

But professional life is for the future...I'm going to sign off NOW in order to pay attention to my sick children, messy house, homework, bedtime and Christmas decorations that are half put away.  

Oh and it is trash night.

Oh, and I need to go sign up for another class since I ONLY have 5 more years until I have to send away for a new piece of paper in the mail that comes in a DO NOT BEND envelope. 

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