I am a teacher. I have not been a teacher my entire adult life. I first received my undergraduate degree in Social Work. I spent 10 years trying to save the world (in various manners). For several years I worked with juveniles who had become involved in the juvenile justice system. This took a tremendous toll on me. I wanted to save these children who overwhelmingly came from such terrible family units riddled with abuse and neglect. But the combination of lack of support and a system that truly just dealt with them through incarceration, I finally decided enough. I needed to change the population I worked with.
I then worked several years with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. I adored my jobs but Social Work is not a highly appreciated field in the United States. I often needed to work several positions at one time to make enough money to survive. I had a young family and decided finances had to win out over emotional rewards.
I returned to school and received a Masters in Public Administration. I ended up working in the private sector and making quite a bit of money. The revenue was great for over 10 years but I often woke up thinking “Ugh, another day of this.”
As previously posted, with a move to Mexico on the horizon, I knew I still wanted to work. Before our move I knew six words in Spanish; Por Favor, Gracias, Cerveza, Frijoles , and of course (especially with the prior two words) Bano.
I realized that with my linguistic challenges teaching may be the best option. I went back to school and received my certification to teach.
If you had told me 30 years ago that I would be teaching a room full of teenagers I would have belly laughed at you, possibly even snorted. The thought of being trapped in a room trying to disseminate information to teens was tantamount to having bamboo shoots shoved beneath one’s fingernails.
I nervously started my new profession and soon found myself completely in love with it. I never wake up thinking “Oh damn, I have to go again.” What happened, actually, was that my family grew by leaps and bounds. I have this extended family of young people who truly care about me and likewise I for them.
I have been doing this for four years so several of my students have graduated and are off starting their adult lives. They still send me pictures and keep in touch. I go to the grocery store and young people and their parents see me and come over to give hugs and kisses.
One year I was feeling a bit blue around Thanksgiving. It is obviously not a celebrated holiday in Mexico. That year my son could not come to visit and I was feeling a bit nostalgic and down. I walked into my classroom to find it decorated and full of delectable treats. My students wanted to cheer me up so they hosted their own Thanksgiving for me.
I am staring at my 50th birthday. It is creeping ever nearer. And I am the most satisfied in a career as I have ever been.
When my mother was dying of cancer she told me not to wait to do things that I wished to do. She realized that she had kept telling herself she would do things she dreamed of doing later. She woke up one day to find out there were no more laters.
So if you are 15 or 80 keep an open mind and keep having adventures. You may find the best times are still out there waiting for you to find them.