Five Years Ago

“Teaching English is not for everyone.”

That laden phrase, passed casually over the desk of the English Education Academic Advisor, in a crowded 4th floor office in what had to be the ugliest English building in the country, did not settle well with me.

I was tired, beaten, and absolutely sure that I could in fact teach English. The dream had passed, the art was not to be, and here I was; relinquishing my winning streak for piles of books (which would eventually turn into back problems). English was my rock. I was good at it. I was the kind of reader and writer who performed papers and speeches for sport.

What I had not anticipated was adversity; even in college, I would meet lots of educators unwilling to help me. Perhaps they underhandedly helped me by revealing that I needed to “put on my big girl pants” and get things done. This moment in that old office will always be in my memory. It was the first time my plans were met with resistance. Now, I could have gone back and changed my major again to something like journalism or horticulture, but I was resolute.

I dug my heels in and happily took grammar with my new advisor. After that, she believed me when I said I could do something. After that, I met people who made me understand why that was her initial reaction.

Someday I’ll fill in all the blanks for you, but for now all you need to know is that I am facing another “not for everyone” turning point in my life: I’m attempting to break into my career.

I have about as much experience as one can have without having contracted teaching experience. Camp counseling, tutoring both in college and after, classroom observation, student teaching, substitute teaching, long-term substitution, and more substitute teaching. The thing is, I chose family first, got married, and am starting over in a new state so my husband can attend graduate school.

Do I regret that? No, I’m always a passionate and decided person when it comes to big life decisions, but this choice has not been effortless in moving 2 states away from where I grew up and had established a network of contacts and experience. What scares me now (as it did 5 years ago in that office) is not being allowed to do what I feel is my purpose.

Like many other life cliches I heard from other people, initially dismissed, and later ate my words, I have found a career that I am willing to stake all of my time and effort on. With age comes momentum and gravity in our decisions, and I have decided that I cannot turn away. I will be a teacher.

It might take me longer than I’d like (which is usually instantaneous as soon as I’ve made up my mind), but I will still substitute teach until people get tired of seeing me in a ridiculous number of classrooms at the school and decide I should be on payroll.

I wasn’t planning on it, but this is my introduction to my blog, Mrs. Meyer Teaches. My name is Rachel, and someday soon I will be an English teacher.

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