There’s a story that I tell people sometimes, and today I’m going to tell it to you, the blog…the internet.
In early October of 2014, I was looking for a job. I had a job that wasn’t great, and I was looking for something better. On a Friday evening, I was looking at job postings, and I saw what I thought said “ELA Long-Term Sub.” ELA stands for English language arts, and it’s what I wanted to teach. Do a long-term sub job for a middle school English teacher at a school twenty minutes from my house? That sounded better than what I was doing. I applied.
On Monday, the recruiter called me. The job posting had not been for ELA but rather ELL (English Language Learners). I’m pretty sure that the recruiter knew that I’d applied by accident, but she was willing to submit me to be interviewed if I was open to that. I went for it. I interviewed, and I was hired. And thus began a year of long-term sub jobs for ELL teachers.
At the end of my first week in that first ELL job, I loved doing ELL work so much that I started looking for master’s programs in the field. I’d talked about getting a masters in EL/ESL/ELL/TESOL for a while, but now…what the heck? I loved this job. I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I submitted my contact info with one university and went outside to do my dismissal duty. That evening, someone from the university called me, I applied the following week, I was admitted, and I started classes in February of 2015.
I told one of my bosses this story last fall. I remember saying that I’d gotten into this whole thing by accident, and she smiled. “This wasn’t an accident. Things like that are never accidents. They happen because they’re supposed to happen.”
Effective July 2, 2017, I’ve finished that degree. I am allowed to throw MEd (Master of Education) after my name. I am an EL teacher. I did what I wanted to do. And I still want to work in this field. I still love this field.
But the question of accident or coincidence or something else stays with me. Prior to that application, I had some concept that this field existed, but I had no clue as to what it really looked like. I had no idea what I was getting into.
I’ve said various times over the past several months that if I’d known what I was getting into I’m not sure that I would have started. There were hard moments. I was challenged, and I didn’t always respond well. Ultimately, I grew, but I had some dark moments on that journey. Do I regret it?
Not a bit. I’ve grown through this process. The challenges have been good for me. I’ve even enjoyed some of them. I didn’t enjoy the week when I worked so hard and pushed myself so hard that I became physically ill and mentally confused. I still don’t like watching videos of myself teaching/talking. But I enjoy teaching. I like the challenge of reading research articles about my field. The application of that research is a mental exercise and not exactly fun in the traditional sense of the word, but it was beneficial, for lack of a better word.
So did I get into this by accident or coincidence? I’d say probably not, but I’ll leave that to history to decide.