Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Journey...Part 2

After that year of teaching 1st grade, I spent the summer working on my master's degree. Throughout the summer I stressed about how and when and if I would get a teaching job before the school year began. The first day of school came and went, no offers. It wasn't until the second week of school when I received a phone call from a principal. She needed someone ASAP to teach a kindergarten class for someone on maternity leave. Apparently the pregnant teacher didn't plan to be out on leave for another month but had to go on emergency bed rest a WEEK before school started. In a scramble this school had hired a series of substitutes who couldn't or didn't want to hang in for the whole maternity leave. Imagine what it'd be like to be a parent of one of those kindergarteners! Three teachers within the first two weeks of school and none of them were their real teacher :-/. Needless to say the principal warned me that the parents might be a bit harsh and have a ton of questions when I showed up. I went in with a positive attitude and a huge warm inviting smile- I'd like to think that I melted their hearts a little and that made them forget how angry they were! I immediately began organizing the room, implementing classroom management techniques and started a class newsletter.  Those kids and parents never had a chance to dislike me. :) I learned how to teach Kindergarten and those students became my absolute FAVORITE! I loved the school, the community, the staff, the parents, the question was- what would I do when the teacher came back? Well I cried when I had to say goodbye to my kinders and then I subbed and subbed and subbed at that school day to day for the rest of the school year.

The following year I got really lucky, I got to return to that school! The principal liked me so much she asked me to "sub" in a class for a medical leave. This doesn't seem so lucky unless you knew the info on the DL=> the teacher on medical leave was planning on retiring and not returning this school year- shhhhh! So that's exactly what happened and my subbing turned into a leave replacement (temporary) contract for the whole school year! I was really getting into my teaching groove. I was honing my classroom management skills, enjoying creating resources for my 2nd grade content and loving visiting with all my past kinders. They would see me in the hall and scream out my name, "Hi, Mrs. Carozza!!!!" Then most times they'd run up and squeeze my legs with a group hug. I loved that school so much! I felt like a celebrity in those halls. The reality was, they couldn't hire me back because I didn't have seniority in the district from all of my subbing. My temporary contract was exactly that, temporary. I had to say goodbye to my dream school and once again I was a floater.

Now I'm to Sept. 2013 in my journey, the beginning of this school year. I was determined to be hired full time so that my previous year of leave replacement could count toward my seniority. According to HR, this had to happen consecutively or the year prior would count for nothing. After a few tearful visits to the district HR office, I was basically powerless in making my future as a contracted teacher happen. So I knew it was one of those situations where I would only be hired if I was in the right place at the right time and it was a fluke! I  emailed all the principals I knew and told them I'd be willing to come last minute and set up a classroom if needed and to put me on their preferred substitute list.  I was determined to be in the right place at the right time, dangit! Before I knew it, I was filling up my schedule with sub jobs like crazy! Some were good but most were NoT fun. One day I subbed in a classroom with a student who was emotionally disturbed, I kept my patience and got through the day. The staff were so impressed that I didn't leave that they bragged to the principal. That very same day I was offered a maternity leave position for a 1st grade teacher who was in a job share. This meant I would be paid a long term sub rate however I would have to fill my schedule with day to day sub jobs the other half of each week. I was in this position for about 3 months. Before that opportunity ended, the principal proposed a leave replacement position for a 4th grade class. I wasn't too enthused about teaching fourth grade since I am so passionate about primary but teaching is teaching, right? Well apparently the current teacher had an opportunity to take a new position in technology and science and wanted to leave mid year because her class was "the worst..." That didn't give me the warm and fuzzies but I thought, I'm young, energetic, I love teaching - I can do it! ....... I did do it. Til the very (bitter) end of the school year. There were many days I cried, many days I wanted to leave, but I just couldn't desert these kids and I just couldn't give up. I was determined to learn something from the experience and let it make me a better teacher.

I'll tell you something - I know I'm a better teacher because of all these experiences. Although they weren't ideal for my expectations and wants, maybe they were what I needed.

1 comment:

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