Teaching is like breathing. It is my heart. I love sharing so many memorable experiences with my students. To have the honor to celebrate the progress of my students is a gift I shall never tire of receiving. I graduated from Butler University in May, 2017. I received two teaching licenses: elementary education and special education. After having left the world’s best education program, I felt incredibly prepared, confident in my abilities, and excited to embark in a new chapter of my life. I don’t think college could really prepare you for what a first year teacher encounters, though. Butler, in my opinion, has a stellar education program who prepares its young educators to become something great. But there’s something about the classroom and it being your first year that you never are truly prepared for what’s in store for you.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
My First Year of Teaching
My first year as an educator, I was a fifth grade teacher working at a low income school in an urban, inner city setting. I started the year with 37 students… quite a bit. After I arranged my desks, there was barely any room to walk in our classroom. But numbers went down once we hired another teacher in October of that year. My first year teaching was remarkable, and I grew so much from it. I learned about flexibility, resilience, and parent communication. I was inspired and curious to launch a research question centralized around parent involvement and communication. I am fascinated by the impact of a student’s home life and how communication and involvement can immensely impact a student’s academic, social, and behavioral success in school. I have been researching the impact involvement and communication have on our students and determining what solutions might be available to educators, families, and students to improve this need.
My Second Year of Teaching
My second year brought a myriad of changes, some of which I was not as prepared for as I would have liked to be. I followed my curiosity and passion for special education for the next school year. It was a case study I conducted that intrigued me the most about a student who qualified as emotionally disturbed (ED). This led me to apply and accept a position as a behavior intervention specialist in a low-income, inner city school in Ohio. It was one of the most challenging school years I hope to ever encounter.
I tackled many more obstacles than I anticipated on all fronts throughout the school year. I dealt with politics in the district, politics in the school, a whole new set of expectations to follow, evaluations up the wazoo, and personal and professional adaptations I needed to make just to survive and keep my head above water. The job itself is not what made my days feel impossible – I loved what I did and the students I worked with. I had so many other obstacles that made my job feel next to impossible: lack of resources, lack of support, no prep time throughout the day, politics, and at times, a hostile work environment.
In the end, my new research I presently wish to pursue and conduct is based on identification of students with emotional disorders. I developed a concern of over-identification of students who have acquired emotionally disturbed labels. This troubles me and I am grateful to have endured all that I do so that I could discover a new theory to explore and collect data on.
Teaching from Home Today
It’s 7:12 a.m. I’m not on contract and expected to be at this school until 8:15 a.m. But, here I am; I have literally no prep time throughout the day as soon as the student bell rings at 8:45 a.m. I’m not Super Woman, and even she wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that needs to get done in that 30 minute prep window. I exhaust myself daily and put everyone else’s needs before mine because I love what I do. Reality is this: teachers – no matter where you teach or what kind of teacher you are – don’t get the prep time they need or receive appropriate compensation for all that we get done and put ourselves through. It’s not fair, but if you’re an educator, you know that we don’t do it for the money.
Around December of 2018, I started to explore alternative options that would allow me the flexibility to make my own hours, work from where I want, and provide me with the satisfaction of making connections with students and engaging them in authentic, purposeful learning. I found it! VIPKID is an online teaching academy which pairs fluent English mentors with students living in China who are learning English. So, I teach English to students who speak Chinese living in China through VIPKID. It’s been a wonderful experience! I have never received as much professional development, teacher supports, incentives to make extra cash, or flexibility to make my own hours before! The teaching industry is a beautiful creature: teaching and learning can happen anywhere. For example, I work my Emotional Disturbance Intervention Specialist during the typical work week. Then, I fill some mornings and evenings with VIPKID. Here’s to making a difference!
Is VIPKID right for you?
If you respond “yes” to any of these questions, VIPKID is worth at least looking into:
- Do you value parent participation and communication in your student’s academic growth?
- Are you looking for something that provides practical, useful, and purposeful professional development opportunities?
- Does teaching English as a second language to some remarkable kiddos in China interest you?
- Tired of spending hours and hours of time on prepping, lesson planning, and grading student work? (tip: VIPKID lessons are all done for you; all you have to do is look at the nearly self-explanatory slides prior to your lessons)
- Want to make your own schedule of when you teach and when you don’t?
- Do you love teaching and learning with enthusiastic, cooperative young minds?
- Last question: do you want to earn easy money?