When I was in Kindergarten, Mrs. White sat me in front of the room and let me read Christmas cards to the class because I actually could read. That's the first moment I remember feeling pride in school. That's what kickstarted my teaching career. I was five. If anyone thinks that the younger years in school don't make a difference or get students off to a positive or negative start, I would say, "I wouldn't be a teacher today if Mrs. White didn't let me read to the class." That might be dramatic, but it's also very true. From that point forward, I had confidence, pride in my work, and desire to read.
My grandma and mom worked in the school system so I also got to reap benefits of the "behind the scenes" of schools. I got to hang out after hours and see teachers when they weren't teaching. They all knew me and I got to take home things that were going to be thrown out. I was pretty sure I was the coolest person in the world when I got a teachers' edition to a book that was going to be thrown out. I got old papers and I even got an old desk that was going to be thrown away. I thought they saved it all for me. I now see what they were doing. It's like the "free table" in our lounge. I took everything from the "free table" and taught all my stuffed animals how to read and write. Winnie the Pooh is still with me and he's super smart.
I realize that all students don't love school like I did and they sure don't love reading as much as I do. I lived two blocks from the library growing up so I ALWAYS had a book. I never went anywhere without a book and I used to read at all the sporting events I had to attend for my brother. It's truly a wonder I have so many friends because I was always reading something. I always tell my students now that they should always be reading something. My mission is to find something they love to read and instill the joy of reading in them. If I do that I'll feel like I've accomplished so much!
I am so lucky that I had a dream of becoming a teacher and it came true. It's all I've ever wanted to do and I get to do it every day. I can remember being at North Side and Center Street and thinking how much I wanted to work there. It still brings back the great memories from childhood every day that I walk through the doors! I can only hope that the kids that come through my classroom love it as much as I did!