My first year teaching, I had a class of children that I thought were ROUGH. It was a struggle, to put it mildly. It was nothing like my student teaching experience. I felt underprepared, under qualified, and felt like maybe this profession wasn't for me after all. But I survived it!
I made the decision at the end of that year to teach first grade the following year. From the teacher bloggers I followed, and from friends that have taught first grade, I had heard wonderful things about that age and that grade level. I was excited to really get into the foundations of learning, excited to get the opportunity to witness incredible growth from beginning to end. And then the next school year began. I felt like I was in over my head. I felt underprepared, inadequate, yet again. These children were adorable, and I loved the content that I got to teach, but I had a student in my class that caused me to dread coming to school every day. I swore to myself that I wouldn't let this student get to me, that I wouldn't let him be the reason I left the profession. And then other students began to behave just like him. I had chairs thrown at me. I felt helpless. I loved what I got to teach, but it felt like I was doing more behavior management than teaching. I looked to my coworkers, to my administrators, and they told me I was doing fine, not to worry, that I was doing the best I could and that was enough. But it didn't feel like enough.
I really did want to give another year of teaching a shot. I ended my second year feeling refreshed, like I could handle anything that came at me after surviving that year.
But then, my best friend Alicia, who had been bothering me about moving to California for YEARS, told me that there was a position open at her startup company in Palo Alto that I would be great for. It just so happened that I had planned on visiting her the same time that they would be holding interviews for the position. So, I went to visit her, interviewed at Leeo, and got the job. Two weeks later I cleaned out my classroom, packed up my belongings, and moved to the Bay Area to start a new adventure.
I was not prepared to feel the way I do about my job. I absolutely love what I get to do. I wake up every morning excited about work. What?! Sure, there were lots of days teaching where I was excited about the day. But it certainly wasn't all the time.
Leeo (the company I work for now) is an incredible place to work. They really value their employees. I get to work with some of the nicest, most talented people I have ever met. I get to see my best friend every day, after 7 years of living in different states. I get to live in a beautiful part of the country, with amazing weather, and endless things to do. This has been one of the best decisions I have made in my lifetime. It's hard sometimes, being away from so many people I love, not working in the profession I had prepared years for, but in the end, it's absolutely worth it.