When I was 13-years-old, my teacher knew that I loved working with kids. My grade eight teacher saw something in me, and she used to send me off to volunteer in the kindergarten and grade one classrooms at our school. Sometimes, I remember "teaching" kindergarten and grade one during grade eight more than being in my actual grade eight classroom. The learning that came from those hands-on experiences have led me to this point in my life today, and I am forever grateful to Ms. J and the gift she gave me when I was thirteen.
When I was 17-years-old, in the twelfth grade, my youngest brother was in junior kindergarten at my former elementary school. His teacher, Ms. K, was one of our former grade seven teachers and knew me well. I had an afternoon spare, and was able to volunteer in the JK classroom multiple days each week. Ms. K saw in me my passion for teaching, and often let me run the class, read stories, and tutor students with special needs. Ms. K inspired me to be a fun, outgoing, and enthusiastic teacher. I will forever be grateful to the gift I received from Ms. K when I was seventeen.
When I was 22-years-old, I graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in History, and a minor in Educational Psychology. Having not gotten in to a teacher's college program for that fall, I dove in to Early Childhood Education courses and began re-writing teacher's college applications. I began an ECE placement in a kindergarten classroom at my former elementary school, with Ms. L. Ms. L had me in her classroom every Tuesday and Wednesday, all-day. She was new to kindergarten, so we co-planned and she considered me her team teacher. She respected my knowledge, and encouraged me to pursue my passion. She wrote me a glowing reference letter. I worked in her classroom from September to June of that school year, and celebrated my acceptance into teacher's college alongside her and her colleagues. I will forever be grateful to Ms. L, for the gift she gave me when I was twenty-two.
When I was twenty-three, I was hired for a tutoring program by Mrs. M, a vice-principal. I was a teacher's college graduate, and would not be able to get in to teaching until the next fall. Mrs. M introduced me to her staff, and to the Principal at her school - Mr. W. I worked in a kindergarten classroom most of the time, and then worked with a small group of grade one students. I will forever be grateful for Mrs. M and the gift she gave me when I was twenty-three.
At age twenty-four, I was hired to the school board as an occasional teacher (supply teacher). Mr. W hired me as a long-term occasional teacher for a grade one classroom in February 2010. I have taught at the same school ever since, taking over for teachers who have left to have a baby. I've been a long-term grade one teacher, grade one teacher again (two of them in one year), grade two teacher, grade 3/4 combined teacher.
When I was twenty-seven-years-old, Mr. W hired me as a full-time, permanent teacher. Back to my roots, I will be teaching a senior kindergarten/grade one class, beginning in two weeks.
Today, now age twenty-eight, I went to the school board office and officially signed my permanent teaching contract. I am a 100%, full-time, permanent teacher in my school board. My classroom on September 3rd is my classroom. I am no longer covering for a teacher on leave.
Fifteen years in the making. I will think of Ms. J, Ms. K, Ms. L, Mrs. M, and Mr. W fondly whenever I think of how I got here. You will most likely never read this*, but thank you. Thank you all so, so much.
*that being said, I have told them in person/email just how influential they have been over the years -- remember to tell the teachers that made a difference for you that they did so, it really makes their career mean something.