Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Utah Living; Substitute Teaching

Hello from the happy Beehive State! Eight months ago, I moved to the grand ol’ state of Utah, not really knowing what to expect. My initial plan was to become a psych tech at a hospital (applying my psychology love and degree). However, that didn’t work out, mainly because it was poor pay$$$ and the drive was a good distance. I figured that I would have a low-key job while I waited to go to Grad School. I applied to the Masters of Social Work program at BYU. I was rejected. I was bummed, to say the least. I knew nothing except for school life. And now it’s over. Done. Finished. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Whatever, I moved on. I started more purposely pursuing becoming an interpreter for the Deaf. I studied, took the Knowledge Exam, failed, studied again, took the exam a second time, and failed. I wish God would just hold up a neon sign saying “NOT FOR YOU, JESSICA!!” But no, I have to take all these different roads. Amidst all of this, I had been working as a substitute teacher in the Canyons School District, just to help me get along. Let me first say, I have absolutely LOVED it. I’ve subbed in all different sorts of areas, from PE, Kindergarten, Dance, Librarian, Math, History, High School, Middle School, and everything there between.

I’ve had my good days and my bad days. There have been classes that I’ve simply adored and some that I refuse to go back to. It’s definitely been a mystery each day of not knowing what to expect from the room, lessons, students, and everything else. I was always walking into the unknown every day I step foot into a new classroom.
Within time, I established a foundational pattern. I started accepting long term positions at a particular Middle School. Kids started to enjoy coming to school each day, knowing that they had a “lit” teacher. I would get shouts of cheers as I entered each class. Walking down the halls was even more extreme. I felt like a celebrity as crowds came to say “Hi to Ms. Smith”. I was constantly surrounded by little munchkins reaching towards me to get a hug.

Whilst subbing, I discovered an alternative route to becoming a licensed teacher in the state of Utah that did not require a specific degree, classes, or training. I kept postponing taking the steps to apply. In time, I made the decision and EVERYTHING fell into place. Literally, it all fell into my lap. I took the test to prove that I am proficient in middle school mathematics. Passed it with flying colors and sent in my application to the State of Utah Education department. Not yet hearing back from them about being officially licensed, I took the step and applied to the Canyons School District to be added into their math teachers’ candidate pool. Within a week of applying to the District, I had a screening interview, an interview with a specific school, and a position offered to me as a 7th grade Math teacher.

Now is the time where I wish God would display “TAKE THIS PATH!!” on a blinking sign. I’m just glad that I didn’t miss it. Fast forward a week or so… The school that I had been long term subbing at for the last 6mts miraculously had a Math position that suddenly opened up!!! I would be considered crazy if I had not applied! So I applied, interviewed, and was offered the job, which I then immediately and gratefully accepted. This leads me into the grand news of: I am officially an 8th grade Math teacher at the lovely place of Union Middle School starting in the 2017-2018 school year!! This has, no joke, been my passion since the 2nd grade. I dreamt of becoming a Middle School Math teacher. Dreams really do come true!!! And I am loving every second of my job.

 Which leads me into….
“School’s out for summer. School’s out forever. School’s been blown to pieces. No more pencils. No more books. No more teacher’s dirty looks. Out for summer, out till fall. We might not come back at all!”
That’s what I’ve been singing all the day long! That being said, it’s summer. I have no job. My contract to begin officially teaching and getting paid monthly (on a salary… I feel like a real adult) doesn’t start until August. So, what am I deciding to do? I’m going to China!!!! I will be in China within a week and teach English for a period of two months. I am so full of MANY different emotions. Ones of anticipation and others of fear. However, I have wanted to do something like this for over three years. Now, I finally have the time and means to do so. Heck, why not?!

Stay tuned for updates about my grand independent adventures from the land of China.