Social Studies Sundays: Why/How I Became a Teacher

What do you want to be when you grow up?  EVERY kid is asked that question hundreds of times.  Until I was in high school I would tell people I wanted to be a dolphin trainer.  I have a probably unhealthy love (cough cough obsession cough cough) of dolphins…always have and always will.  However, every once in a while I toyed with the idea of being a flight attendant, radio dj, news anchor, author, editor, food critic, saw myself taking over the family luncheonette when my dad retired (Lexington Candy Shop in NYC), being a professional student (I LOVED school), and yes, teaching.  I couldn’t really explain why I wanted to be a teacher, it was just always in the back of my head.  I think it always felt right.  I loved helping my classmates understand something that they didn’t understand from the teacher and I looooooved history.  My dad instilled in me an appreciation for being a constant learner and I think to be a good teacher you have to constantly be willing to learn new things.

By the time I was in college I had pretty much resigned myself to working in finance because that’s what my summer jobs and internships had been in and that’s the vibe I was getting from my dad that he wanted for me.  So I got my MA in History from Tulane just in case but then applied for every finance job possible in NYC.  I was hired by and worked at Bloomberg in their Analytics department.  After getting engaged and finishing my year at Bloomberg, I moved to Columbus, MS where my husband had about 6 months left to his initial pilot training with the Air Force.  There was not too much of anything in Columbus (though there was a deli, United Deli, operated out of a gas station which was AMAZING, talk about the best bread for sandwiches, man that bread was the star of United Deli) so I decided to get on the subbing list to make sure that teaching was what I wanted to pursue.  I came home after my first day of subbing (August, 2009) and knew without a doubt I was absolutely supposed to be in the classroom.  To be honest, not every day as a sub was rainbows and unicorns.  One day I had a student put her cell phone down the front of her shirt so that I couldn’t actually take it away from her (that was after we had an excessively long confrontation about cell phone policies).  That was a gigantic learning experience for me and as it turns out I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that story.  When my husband’s training finished in MS we moved to Illinois for 3 years.

Right after we moved I applied to a teaching certification program at a local university, got my secondary certificate–there was never a doubt that I only wanted to teach secondary…among thousands of reasons why, two are that I can’t be sarcastic with elementary kids and  I don’t have the energy or patience to deal with “he touched my pencil, I have to go to the bathroom too, please stay in a straight line” etc.   I then spent 3 phenomenal semesters teaching high school US History, Medieval History, and Geography before we moved again.  Now I’ve been teaching World Civ and US History in California (in another post I’ll explain how for this coming school year I’ll be teaching at a home school co-op).  I guess I did become a dolphin trainer after all, but I’ve got teenagers instead of dolphins and I’m trying to make sure they are responsible world citizens instead of jumping through hoops…or is it the same thing 🙂

2 replies »

  1. Hi Stephanie! I saw your post about your new blog in the forums and also on the WAHM group. I clicked over to check out your new blog, and I literally laughed out loud when I read the first line of this post! Your explanation of the obsession with dolphins describes me exactly! I was completely convinced that I was going to be a dolphin trainer until my senior year of high school LOL! I hope to meet you in Vegas and talk about dolphins, umm, I mean teaching 😉


    • Haha that is so cool! Maybe we should start a support group…it’s almost impossible for me to not buy a dolphin figurine/notebook with a dolphin on it, etc. Have you been able to swim with them? Talk about one of the best experiences of my ENTIRE life! I wish I was going to Vegas but I can’t make it this year 😦 I told my husband no matter what I’m going next year! Tell the dolphins at the Mirage I said hi 🙂


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