It is interesting how we end up in a career. Some people know from an early age what it is they want to be when they grow up–doctor, Olympic athlete, lawyer, president of the United States, dentist, computer wiz, fashion designer, and on and on. Some lucky people get a dream for their future and set goals that will make that dream a reality. Some people find out that their career choice wasn’t all they thought it would be, and they end up doing something else, maybe even something they love even more. How about you? How did you get started on your career path?
My career spanned 37 years as a teacher in California public schools. I have always loved school and learning, but when I started college, becoming a teacher was not on my list of things to do with my life. It wasn’t until my junior year of college, after dropping out for a few months and becoming a nanny, that I realized the path I should take. The funny thing was that the parents of my sixth-grade class knew I would be a teacher fourteen years before I did!
I went to school at Garden Grove Elementary (K-6) in Reseda, California. I had wonderful teachers. I loved school. I loved learning for learning’s sake. Today I would probably be labeled “nerdy,” or “a geek,” in fact. I still remember my teachers at that school. Each one gave me the gift of knowledge and inspired me to become the best I could be. Special memories surround my relationship with each teacher. I wanted to be like them when I was little. I even idolized a few of them, as some small children are wont to do.
Back in the day the parents of sixth-graders at Garden Grove Elementary would host what was called a “Culmination.” It was a celebration of promotion–moving on from elementary school to junior high school. The day’s festivities ended in a luncheon. At every student’s place there was a small scroll. The scroll contained a fortune, a fun prediction for our possible futures. Each one was written with that particular student in mind. Mine went something like this… You will be the mother of 27 children. Oh, pardon me. You will be a teacher at Garden Gulch School.
I know these little fortunes were not meant to be anything more than a fun little memento, but I can’t help wondering how many of them actually came true. As for me, I guess I was fated to become a teacher. My career was unusual, compared to most, I think. And even though I didn’t actually teach at Garden Gulch School, I did spend most of my career teaching in a rural community.
TO BE CONTINUED