For the sake of keeping this shorter, because really who is reading this, we all know what happened, right? Right, I mean, yeah - started grad school, duh. Yes, I began my Master's Degree and also began teaching at a private school as a kindergarten assistant. I loved my class.
What I learned from this year in kindergarten is that sometimes it really is all about the kids. Sometimes we have to close our door and just teach. Ignore everyone else who is not in our classroom on a daily basis. If the children and their parents are happy, then I am happy. However, I knew this school was not a perfect fit. Fortunately, I had lined up a position as a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant at another private school for the following school year in the fall. Even though I was comfortable with my move forward at the end of the year I was sad to leave the kids and families behind and it still felt good to know that the parents I was making happy throughout the year were not pleased to hear I was leaving and did not take it lying down. I still see so many of them from time to time.
A new school year started, both of teaching and of my Master's program. I was thrilled. I was one more year closer to my own classroom (fingers crossed that would happen next school year). I loved the teacher I was working with and I was not just being treated like an assistant, but like an actual co-teacher - to this day she would still tell you that is what it was like.
This school year was absolutely amazing. My "co-teacher" was out a lot (that wasn't the amazing part) because she had a newborn baby. I took the class all on my own. I was not given a substitute to help. The kids from this class and their parents, I did not just have a good relationship with them I had a wonderful one. I still see, on purpose, so many of them. I began tutoring one student and both of our families have become wonderful family friends. Another mother has become a wonderful alliance in the search for teaching jobs. If I had it my way I would have stayed at this school for a very long time and everyone knew it. In fact everyone was sure I would.
Then came the day - the meeting in the principal's office. My principal knew I wanted my own class in the fall. I had passed the certification exam the previous fall. My Master's Degree would be completed in December of the new coming school year, so halfway through the school year my students' would not just have a certified teacher, but they would also have a teacher with a Master's Degree. All my principal would need to do was sign a piece of paper allowing for a provisional certificate for the first half of the school year. Well, here is that whole we make plans thing again. My principal had other plans. She did not feel I was ready to teach on my own. She wanted me to spend another year as an assistant teacher. Bang! Bullet number one. Then she told me that if I were to stay an assistant I would have to move to 1st or 2nd, she would not let me stay with my co-teacher in kindergarten who I had grown to love and already developed a wonderful friendship with. Bang! Bullet number two. Well, see if I had my own class that would be able to count as my student teaching. However, if I were to remain an assistant I would still need to student teach and I would not be able to do it at that school because it was not a public school. She told me she would allow me a leave of absence. Unpaid. Unpaid? Bang! Bullet num.ber.three. I was down. That year in kindergarten I learned that only I can lookout for myself, trust no one, and sometimes walking away is a risk that you have to take for your own self-respect.
That following summer I searched for any school willing to hire on a provisional certificate until December when I would have my Master's. Nada. The fall came and I had to go ahead and start my student teaching. It was rough. I had sunk to place I did not know I could go. I had to cut that semester short and wipe it from my record. I had to move back home - to my parents. With no income there was no way to pay rent. With no completion of student teaching, there was no sign of a job for the remainder of that school year (even though I had come very close to having one waiting for me). After eight years on my own - four at college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, two in Manhattan, and two in my own apartment in Atlanta - I was putting everything away in storage and leaving it behind. I did not for how long, but I hoped for as short of a while as possible.