What a Ride!

4 years ago I took a risk. I never expected it would take me through one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was an experience that I know I will never, ever forget. Before I get too far, let me explain more of how I got on this ride!

I was at a school and I didn’t know what to do in regards to finding a full-time position. I kept trying for the same kind of high school positions that I always applied for, but I was never called upon for those jobs. Finally, I asked someone what I needed to do. The advice I received was “apply everywhere, even if you think you’re qualified or not.” Well, I thought, “what do I have to lose!” A week later, I saw a posting for a 5th and 6th grade social studies teacher at St. Michael School in Independence, Ohio. I saw this and said, “Well, might as well go for it!” Now, I have never taught anything below 9th grade, so I had no idea of how to work with 5th and 6th graders…so this was going to be quite a new experience for me if I was able to get this position.

When I received the phone call for an interview, I was quite pleased! This was a big step for me considering my luck up to then on even getting an interview was kind of tough. I prepared as best as I could and I came in for my first interview…then I had a second….then I received a phone call that changed my life. I was contacted and I was offered the position! Well, now what do I do?? I have to figure out curriculum…I have to figure out how to relate to almost middle schoolers…I have to actually decorate a classroom!!!!! But, most importantly, my risk paid off! I am going to be a 5th and 6th grade teacher! I was nervous, scared, and excited…all at the same time!

I still recall my first “meet the teacher night.” I was told that parents come and visit the teachers and pick up books. Ok…I can handle that! Well, I came into my classroom for that first evening and I look up and see 15 5th graders staring up at me! I was not prepared for that! I can talk to adults, but not kids. To make it worse, my podium was not tightened and as I leaned on it, it fell down a bit…this was a rough start to this meeting. I was embarrassed and confused, but it lightened the mood and I was supported by everyone in that room. That’s when I knew this would be a special experience in my life!

Ever since that day, I built a great relationship with those students. This year, my first 5th grade homeroom/class is graduating 8th grade. I still remember so many amazing moments with that group! The field trips…the decorating for my birthday…the lessons that were successes and the lessons that weren’t as successful. Everything that year was great! We grew together…we had fun together…we struggled together…we learned together! That’s what I will remember!

As I grew more and more comfortable within the 5th and 6th grade level…hold on…let me say the entire elementary school level, I found that Catholic education is truly my vocation. It is my calling to be a part of the education of the faith for these awesome students. Just seeing the students being so involved in extracurriculars and sharing their gifts and talents brings me great joy. The Bowling Club is a tremendous social event for students! Drama Club has over 60 students involved and the hardwork and dedication they put into the shows amazes me! The student band performances show such amazing growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year! I’m proud of each and everyone of these students!

This past year, I have found myself really growing closer to the teachers of St. Michael School. We have shared stories…lessons…laughs…and hardships. I have never met a more dedicated, caring, and loving group of teachers in my life. I have seen how supportive they are of the students, families, and community. They have inspired me and I know that they inspire our students.

The families at St. Michael School have been amazing supporters of me. I cannot thank them enough for guiding me along this journey and entrusting me to educate their students. I have been blessed by their willingness to provide whatever I needed and to be there to help me learn what the best way to meet the needs of their students can be. Families are the foundation of our faith and our school community, and I am so blessed to have such a positive relationship with them and I do hope that those relationships will continue into the future.

That leads me to this, and this will be difficult for me to say, but these will be my last few weeks at St. Michael School. There will only be 1 fifth grade class next year and there is no other opening for me to go. It truly breaks my heart, but I have come to accept this decision. Please know that St. Michael School will always hold a special place in my heart. St. Michael School has provided me so many amazing opportunities as an educator. I was able to showcase the school and my passion for Catholic education through the school allowing me to participate in the National Catholic Educational Association Social Media Influencer contest. I was provided the opportunity to attend the NCEA convention the following year because of the generous support of the PTU. I was able to grow in my faith and my vocation as a Catholic educator.

I am sad to leave St. Michael School, but I am also excited for whatever the new chapter in my educational career holds for me. I will remain up to date with the events and stories of St. Michael School. I hope that I will still be able to make it to sporting events and other student involved activities. St. Michael School is a very special Catholic school community! What makes this school so special are the students, families, teachers, and community of supporters! I wish the entire school community all the best as I move on! I’ll be praying for you! Let your light shine! Once a Blue Angel, Always a Blue Angel! Thank you for the amazing 4 year ride! God bless!

Author: acottos

I'm a 4/5 social Studies teacher who is passionate about education and working for what is best for students. I am an aspiring educational leader who is looking forward to working as a principal or school leader to help further the education of my students and staff.

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