As a teacher myself, you would think perhaps that I wanted to be a teacher because I was inspired by all the wonderful teachers I had growing up–not so much.
Well, maybe I was inspired by one very special teacher–nope.
As a matter of fact, I went to the counseling center in college to figure out what to major in. I scored the highest in my affinity to careers in education or as a YWCA/YMCA director. I was maybe not inspired, but at least open to education because of shows like Electric Company, ZOOM, and Hodgepodge Lodge. Learning could be fun…
When I explored the education options more specifically, I thought of teaching elementary education standing at a big chalkboard and kids sitting at desks in rows. Arghhh.
However, I thought that being a special education teacher would give me more flexibility and creativity. This assumption wasn’t what I discovered when I embarked on this path. Individualized education plans, multi-disciplinary team meetings, and lots of paperwork were not my idea of exciting and imaginative work.
So how did I end up teaching First/Second Grade for almost 30 years?
When I Was a Student
Well, I wasn’t inspired by my early education teachers. The things I most remembered were wondering if we would ever be able to read the 20 or so books on our 2nd grade bookshelf, and if so, when.
I also remember my 3rd grade had a center set up with a listening center. I got to listen to a Halloween book of scary stories and then it sat, unused and neglected for the rest of the year.
We learned about Wisconsin in 4th grade. We made our own dipped candles. That was the same year Mrs. Lempke taught us to play Cribbage in math. She also played guitar and we had a special classroom folder of songs she taught us.
I loved using shoe boxes in 5th grade to connect a battery to little light bulbs as we learned about circuits.
In 6th grade, Mrs. Heimeral read to us each day after lunch. Her reading of Black Beauty and the brutality of the story is something I can still connect with.
After elementary school, everything was just school. I knew how to play the game. I did my homework, listened in class, and studied for tests. But what really stuck with me were the “fun” activities. Not really the teachers.
When I was a Teacher
So, as a teacher, I wanted to have fun and create an excitement of learning for my students. We had watermelon seed spitting contests to practice measuring feet and inches. Over the years, I personally purchased thousands of books for our classroom library. The students played games to practice math facts like the “Penny-Nickel Exchange Game” on the Smartboard. I still miss “energizers” like “Double This Double That” and “Bim Bum.
Learning is kind of my gig. I’m currently working on learning to play the ukulele. I love studying the stars and figuring out constellations. I’ve studied, practiced, and worked to become a certified life coach. I’m inquisitive and want life and my work to be INTERESTING!
And so, if I’m not learning, not having fun, not feeling the joy…
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