6.01.2015

Show & Tell Tuesday {When I Grow Up}

Today, I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for "Show & Tell Tuesday"
The question today is "What did you want to be when you grow up?"
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be two things when I grew up: a mom and a teacher.
I remember playing "school" with my dolls and stuffed animals.
I would line them up and have class each day when my older sister was at school and I was at home.
{Photo of me at age 4 playing "school" with my dolls and stuffed animals}

Being a teacher runs deep in my family.
My mom got her teaching credential.
I have 4 aunts. All 4 of them are teachers (and are still teaching to this day!).
I have 3 cousins who are teachers (and my cousin's wife is a teacher)
And, of course, my younger sister is also a teacher.
So, as you can see, teacher blood runs thick in my family.

Growing up, I was always eager for school to start up.
I loved going back-to-school shopping for new supplies and clothes.
The night before the first day of school was like the night before Christmas.
I couldn't wait to wear my first-day-of-school outfit and find out who was in my class and what my teachers were like. I couldn't wait to fill in my planner and use my fresh notebooks and new pens.

I was fortunate to live in an area that has really good schools, and I had some amazing teachers growing up. The teacher that stands out to me the most as influencing my decision to become a teacher was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Calvert.

As a 5th grader, I was terrified of Mrs. Calvert. I had her for reading and she was strict and hard. She challenged me and often told me I wasn't doing my best work...because she knew I could do better. I knew that I DID NOT want her in 6th grade. The day before 6th grade started, my best friend (and neighbor) AK and I went down to the school to find out who our teachers were. It was a hot day in August and we arrived at the school 10 minutes before the class lists went up. I was praying that AK and I would get the same teacher, because we had never been in the same class together. And I was praying I didn't get Mrs. Calvert. We were waiting by the office and it was 5 minutes until the list was going to be put up. The office door opened and out walked Mrs. Calvert.
She looked at me and said, "I know who your 6th grade teacher is," and then she winked at me.
I was filled with despair. I knew I was in Mrs. Calvert's class.
When the list went up, my fears were confirmed.
And my best friend AK was in a different class.
I had tears in my eyes as I walked home. I was officially dreading 6th grade.

But, it turned out to be one of the best years ever.
Mrs. Calvert was an AMAZING teacher.
She made me work hard. She challenged me and made me realize that I can be better than average, I can be great. It would take hard work and effort, but she made me realize I could do anything I wanted to do if I put my heart toward it. I grew so much that year and I owe a lot of it to Mrs. Calvert. On the last day of school, I had tears in my eyes, just like I had 9 months earlier.
But instead of crying because Mrs. Calvert was going to be my teacher, I was crying because Mrs. Calvert wouldn't be my teacher anymore.
That year confirmed that not only did I want to be a teacher, I wanted to be a teacher like Mrs. Calvert, who makes a difference in students' lives.

I continued to keep in touch with Mrs. Calvert. I would go by her classroom when I was in middle school and high school and let her know how I was doing. She came to my high school graduation and let me know how proud she was of me for getting a soccer scholarship. When I was off at college, I would write her letters as I was going through my teaching credential. I thanked her for being such an inspiration to me. The year before I finished my teaching credential, Mrs. Calvert retired because she was battling cancer. Two years later, I was hired at the same school that Mrs. Calvert had taught at.

I called her on my first day of teaching in 2004 and let her know where I was working and that I would have loved to teach alongside her. I thanked her again for being such a great teacher and said that I hoped I would have an impact on students like she did. It was a brief conversation because Mrs. Calvert was losing her battle to cancer. She ended up passing away in 2006.
 
Next week, I will finish my 11th year of teaching (!!!!)
I have taught 7th grade math at the same school all 11 years.
After Kate was born in 2007, I stopped teaching full time.
I kept teaching, but part time. I teach every morning & am done by noon each day.
It is the best of both worlds.
I get to teach in the morning, but I get to be with my kids also & pick them up from school each day.
I love that I am able to volunteer in the girls classrooms in the afternoons a few times each month.

I am thankful that both principals that I have had are really supportive and allow me to just teach the first 4 periods. (And, the beauty of teaching middle school is that you don't have to job share!)

I am also extremely thankful for my mom & mother in law who watch Luke in the mornings while I teach. (They have been doing this since Kate was born. My mom watches 3 days & Kevin's mom does the other 2 days) I know that I am so lucky to have a situation like this and that my kids didn't have to go to daycare while I am at school.
Even though it can be hard being a (part-time) working mom and figuring out the balance, I do feel called to be a teacher. I know I am at my job for a reason.
The middle school years can be rough for some kids, but I love teaching middle school and I can't imagine teaching any other age! Middle School rocks :)
I became a teacher because I was inspired from teachers that I had. 
My hope is that I can make a difference in my students lives as well!
To all my readers out there who are teachers, keep doing what you are doing & keep making a difference. What you do for your students each day matters.

And also....hang in there....it's almost summer! 
8 days left for us!

What did you want to be when you grew up? 
And, are you doing that?

18 comments:

  1. I always wanted to be a teacher as well. When I graduated from college, I started teaching 3rd grade at the same school that I attended as a child. I actually co-taught with the woman that was MY 3rd grade teacher. In 2011, my daughter was born 3 months early and I had to take a year off of teaching to stay home with her. After that year, I knew that it would be best for our family if I found something part time. So I changed schools and now teach middle school science part time. I work 4 days a week just in the morning. It is the best of both worlds...I can be home with my kids and still teach and keep up my credentials.

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    1. How fun that you co- taught with your 3rd grade teacher! That is so awesome you also teach middle school part time in the mornings!

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  2. I played school all the time when I was a kid. I wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten. I always loved school and just like you, the night before the first day of school was like Christmas Eve! At first I wanted to be a middle school English teacher, but I changed to elementary. I've taught 3rd, 4th, and now 5th grade. This year I'm finishing my 17th year of teaching (yikes!) and I still love it.

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  3. I love that your family has such deep roots in education! I can't wait to see what your girls end up doing...I'm predicting teachers :).

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    1. Kate wants to be a teacher! Claire wants to be a nurse :)

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  4. I loved this post! Reading about Mrs.Calvert made me smile and cry!

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  5. Such a cool post, Mel! I can just feel your energy and love for those kids. The world needs more teachers like you!

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  6. That is so awesome that you come from such a long line of teachers! As a parent, I really really appreciate what you do for our kids. I love seeing your passion for it.
    -Erin (No Bohns About It)

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  7. I taught middle school my first year as a teacher, and if it wasn't for my husband's job moving us around I honestly would have stayed at that school forever and ever. I loved those kiddos so much. Like you said, those can be some tough years for kids, and I loved being there to cheer them on and help them through so many awkward situations. I'm sure your students love you! And how wonderful to have your mom and MIL in the same town. My mom would kill for that! Ha! :) Great post!

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    1. Thank you Erica! I know how rare & lucky we are to have both sets of grandparents so involved in our kids lives! I don't take that for granted!

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  8. I am sure you are an incredible teacher! It seems that your heart is devoted to teaching, and we need more teachers with that passion!
    I was a student of Mrs. Calvert's, as well. I remember being a little intimidated at first, but she was easy to love with her Garfield collection. :) I remember that she kept a pack of M&M's in her desk for students who got the hiccups- lol.
    My favorite teacher (whom you probably know!) is Mrs. Tong. I was lucky enough to have her as my teacher for 3 years- 1 year at CW and 2 at SRV. Still keep in touch with her and revert back to her teachings and life lessons all the time. A wonderful teacher is treasured forever!

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    1. Yes!!! Whenever I see Garfield, I think of her! I love that you have her also! I didn't have Mrs. Tong, but we know eachother & are friends on Facebook. Did you know she is a huge Warriors fan?

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  9. What a great post! I am a Teacher and was so fortunate to teach alongside the teacher who inspired me for year. I soaked it all in. I now teach her grandson. We have 8 days left as well, and although I love my career, I am excited to be home with my own kiddos. I look up to you Middle School Teachers, especially Middle School Math :) Enjoy the rest of your year!

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    1. That is amazing you teach her grandson! Can't wait for summer!!! We are so close! :)

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