Why I became a Teacher.

“women's blue dress shirt” by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash

When I was 20 years old, I thought to myself “what is the easiest possible job I can do?”I answered after a few minutes, “a substitute teacher.” All they have to do is be a body in a room full of younger people. Directions are on the board. You just sit and watch and maybe write a referral every now and then. Yes, this was easy right? WRO…..actually YES it was quite easy.

I was able to do this at 20 without an AA degree because I took a math and reading test and passed both with high scores.

I had a variety of jobs and the colleges I went to after high school really didn´t have what I wanted and I was trying to go to certain ones just for a class here and there. Sporadically, from 1994–1996 — I went to Southeast Community College in Middlesboro, Kentucky. At the time, a branch of University of Kentucky. I would sometimes put AA degree from University of Kentucky as technically, I wasn´t lying because that is what my AA showed. I even accomplished a 4.0 with 21 hours in one semester in this school. I don´t know why colleges always think 21 hours is a lot. We did that for 4 years in high school on a daily basis. In college, it´s 21 hours per week. What was my AA used for? Nothing. I substitute taught more, but admittingly, I had a slight pay raise once I had my AA.

Various jobs came and went — filling up gas for small and private planes at airports, taking care of plants, delivering pizza, delivering newspapers, soccer coach, etc… Lots of etc…

Then, I finally decided I probably should teach. I searched for various colleges and I was still of age to play soccer in college. Well, I did and I didn´t. But then, I thought, I need a degree, so I went to the closest four-year college and obtained a Bachelor´s of English degree from Warner Southern, now Warner University.

Why English? Well, I was great at it in school, so why not. Actually, I was excellent in writing and grammar, not so much literature. Even my college professors asked me for advice on writings and poems as their degrees and expertise was in literature, specifically British.

I felt for me, it was the easiest way out of college, and I was right.

I decided to get myself a gift after graduating and I did. With my college loan, which still affects me today, I wanted to go to somewhere in Europe as I was in Europe in 1991 playing soccer and loved it there. I chose Ukraine. I heard they had beautiful women and I was not disappointed.

My first actual real teaching job was Lugansk, Ukraine. It was a small private school. I volunteered as I thought when I returned, it would look good on my résumé, but that was not always the case. As I have taught Ukrainians later in life, it did look better on my résumé.

My first teaching job in the United States was at Dundee Ridge Middle School in Dundee, Florida, a small town close to Winter Haven, Florida where there is an attraction called Legoland, formerly Cypress Gardens.

At the end of the first semester, the assistant principal came up to me and said, “we have lost units in our school, and since you were one of the last 2 teachers hired, we need to let you go, but we must give you a job” since I signed a yearly contract. Then she says “At first, I wasn´t sure about your methods, but I saw how the kids respond to you. We finally have a staple in our school, and I am really sorry we have to let you go.”

To this day, this was one of the best compliments from any administration, but notice she says, “how the kids respond.” This is not on some stupid form that principals have to evaluate you and fill in remarks about how one teaches. If it was on the form, things would have been different for me throughout my teaching career.

As a teaching job must be given during a contract year after losing units, I had a choice between Haines City High School and Frostproof High School in Polk County Florida. I chose Haines City since it was a little closer to where I was renting a house. However, I was more familiar with Frostproof and it was closer to my hometown. I made the wrong choice because the principal of Haines City High School lied about me, which actually didn´t affect me until 15 years later.

At the end of my 2nd semester, I learned about politics in schools. I moved on………at least for a while.

Originally published at www.thirstforenglish.com on October 24, 2018.