I Could’ve Been A Contender (vol. 1)

**Disclaimer: This post is about my time as a teacher. If you know this story, I don’t mean to slander anyone. I’ve used fake names to describe any one and any place. This is intended for my personal blog. You can choose to read it or not. **

This post is quite long, I understand if you don’t read it all, but it would mean a lot if you did.

I used to teach, believe it or not. I was a teacher for about a year at a local Educational Development Center. It was my first job out of college and I loved it more than I can put into words. At first, I was hired as an Assistant Teacher, and according to my higher-ups, I was an Assistant the entire time; I disagree.

On my first day, I was surprised to find myself in an actual classroom. I was introduced to my first lead teacher. We became so close, they actually officiated my wedding. That teacher was one of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever met. They loved all of the children They came in contact with and truly flourished when it came to making lesson plans. Lesson planning was so much fun with them. When they would ask my opinion, I felt like I actually mattered. I was even more uplifted when they actually chose to use my ideas.

I was so excited when I received a call from my Director telling me I had gotten the job. I started right as the school year was ending, so I got to see how busing and teaching happened within the school year for a few weeks before Summer Camp started.

I could tell story after story about the kids in our classroom. How I was able to teach them life skills and communication skills to deal with their own troubles. How I learned so much about myself and what career path I would eventually follow. How much those kids impressed themselves upon my heart to the point that I can’t live properly without seeing them every day.

I miss them so so much and I hate that I can never go back.

After summer camp was over and the school year was just a few weeks away, I was informed that due to a low number of enrolled students in my current classroom, that I would be moved to a new one as an Assistant for a teacher that had recently started.  The other teachers called her “Pigtails” since that’s how she wore her hair for the majority of the summer. The children were younger and I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead. I moved to a cursed classroom. You might not be superstitious, but this classroom was cursed, I swear.

As the year progressed, at least 5 teachers came in and out of that room. At first, I was assigned as an Assistant to the current Lead. Pigtails showed me how she operated, and she taught me how to care for children in a younger age group. Then one day, out of the blue, another teacher tells me that Pigtails had quit. They stuck around for a few weeks until everything was finalized with their new job, which was nice because I had no idea what I was doing. But then the day came when Pigtails left. I remember it vividly. They packed their things and quietly left during nap time. Their parting words were “good luck with life.” Then they smiled and closed the door.

Once Pigtails left I was sent a new substitute every day while still under the “Assistant Teacher” title. Now, these kids are between 3 and 4 years old and I mentioned this classroom was cursed, well, so was the class. This particular group of children hadn’t had a consistent teacher for longer than a few months. As I was sent sub after sub in what I was learning to call “my” room, I learned a lot about caring for children, I learned that it’s basically like having a room full of best friends that just happen to be bite sized.

As the school year progressed, I learned to take things into my own hands. Policy at this particular school was that the Director or Assistant Director was supposed to write lesson plans for the assistant or cyclical Lead Teacher to follow every day. This didn’t happen. Instead, my Director copied and pasted another room’s lesson plans into my daily schedule and expected me to follow them. Now, I’m not one to stray from the rules normally, but once I thought about it, it was nearly impossible for the daily Lead Teacher to follow because they were new to the room each day and couldn’t make sure the classroom had what we needed before the day of the lesson. Also, some books and computer games that were on the lesson plans were being used by the teacher of the room we were copying from so we would have had to improvise anyway. Instead, I made my own lesson plans. According to the weekly theme, I chose books and crafts and life lessons and made my own lesson plans. I got organized and I started to feel comfortable as the new Lead. Although it wasn’t my job title, I considered myself the Lead Teacher now. I was the one who knew the kids, I made the lesson plans, and any substitutes would need a copy of our schedule every day and would always ask me how they could help. I was running that room.

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