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"Are You Still A Teacher?" My First Year Out of the Classroom

Updated on November 29, 2013

"Are You Still A Teacher?"

“Mrs. B., why are you not a teacher anymore?”

This is the question that I was asked most often this year. This school year, after seventeen years in the classroom, I took the leap to become a K-2 Reading Intervention Teacher. My years as a classroom teacher were spent in first and second grade, the “hot bed” of literacy development. I loved it! There is nothing better in this world than a child’s face when the letters on the page start to have meaning for them. All of a sudden they exclaim “I can read this!” And being a part of that joy was contagious.

However, I felt myself getting restless. I knew that it was possible that I might be “phoning it in” in a few years. I did not want to be that kind of educator. I needed a new challenge. The school I teach in is largely bilingual and very multicultural. For years, I watched some children learn to read with what seemed like very little effort on my part. Others seemed to struggle no matter how much support they received. I wanted to do more for those children.

A position opened in my building for an intervention teacher and I jumped at the chance. I had to dig out a resume (dusty though it was) and actually put on an “interview suit.” I was frightened at leaving the comfort zone of the classroom. But something told me this was the right choice!

I was lucky enough to be offered the position.Now it was time to clean out almost 20 years of classroom, ”stuff” shall we say! Oh, the memories of my baby teacher years. It was an emotional task during which I laughed and cried.

September rolled around and I felt unmoored. No classroom to go to and no new crop of kids yet. I attended meetings that seemed to last endlessly.I dealt with more adults then children which presented its own set of new rules. I wondered if this was the right decision. I felt like a runner at the starting gate with nowhere to go.

Finally, I was able to start with my new program. My groups were in place, and I was ready! My first lesson was that I did not need to project my voice at a table with three children! My colleagues gently (but quickly) set me straight on that one!

This year has brought the joys and frustrations of a new way of teaching. I am getting down in the trenches and feeling like I am truly making a difference with these struggling readers. But this new job also offered another experience that I did not expect. I have worked with some of my colleagues for years, but I never worked WITH them. I have seen these men and women in action now. And it is a joy and an inspiration to see so many teaching styles and ideas. I knew they were good, but I am amazed by them everyday!

The children ask me still: “Did you stop being a teacher?”

I reply, “I am and always will be a teacher.” And I am proud.

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    • Theater girl profile image
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      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you longtime mother! I appreciate the comment and the visit. Thanks for reading my little essay ;)

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Good on you for making the change, Theater girl. Keeps life interesting. :)

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for reading! And as a teacher, humor is my best weapon! Lol! It's a necessity!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      What an amazing story of your professional stretch, Theater girl, good for you! Written with humor, which is always a plus. Thanks for sharing! Up/I

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      I read that in your bio! And I am glad too!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      :) I was a teacher too. Glad to connect with you!

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you very much midget38! How very kind of you to say! Thank you for reading and for the encouragement!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Here's to you and your new experiences, Theater Girl! Blessings on your new endeavors and with your zeal you will touch many hearts!

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you Lurana! I am lucky that I always knew what I wanted to do and am able to do it! Thank you for reading and blessings to you!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Really wonderful personal essay...meaningful and inspiring! My parents are retired educators and I have always had great respect for teachers. You are shaping young lives! ~Lurana

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank You for stopping by! And thank you for the encouragement!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you so much for sharing this. The closest I go was a soccer coach and a teacher for the masons.

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you Frank! I appreciate that!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      life is all about taking chances and you did... bravo to you :)

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you theresa for saying so and for reading! Have a great day!!!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Theater girl - Good for you. Your new position sounds like it is challenging and very gratifying at the same time, which is really what all highly motivated teachers want. They are fortunate to have you. :)

      Have a wonderful week. Sharing. Theresa

    • Theater girl profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you!!! I felt that it was the right choice, even though it was scary! Thank you as always for reading!

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Theater girl,

      I salute your bravery to take a chance on your career.

      Thank you for acknowledging that teachers are not robots: each has his or her own unique teaching style.

      Voted Up and Awesome!

      Best Always,

      Kim