4.17.2016

The Accidental Teacher

I started a masters program in special education last week. My sweet husband suggested taking a first day of school picture :)

It would be very easy to describe myself as an 'accidental teacher'.

Well, at one point I did intend to be a teacher. I took an interest in special education when I helped out in adaptive PE in eighth grade. I found that being surrounded by that group of people was a breathe of fresh air and a safe place in the midst of a rocky middle school experience. It was transformative for me and my peers who chose that elective. That experience stuck with me, and when I headed off to college, I aimed to pursue a degree in Special Education. After discovering I first had to do a major in general Education then get a masters in Special Ed,  I got disheartened.


I ended up studying psychology (which I don't regret at all, it's an amazing field and I learned so much), but just about a year and a half after earning my bachelors, it became pretty clear that God had other plans for me.

But oh man, did I resist God's nudging! First of all, I was am stubborn and thought people would think I was stupid for going back to education after getting a psychology degree. Secondly, I am someone who likes to be unique, and much of my family are teachers. I wasn't going to be a teacher too!

So here's how it happened:

When Daniel started teaching in Hermiston, he found out that the school district was really desperate for subs. I'd been looking around for jobs in social services and had had no luck so far, so I figured why not. Subbing can be lonely, but I learned something new and enjoyed meeting new kids everyday. That January, I found myself in a week-long sub job in a middle school behavior room. The kids in that room really touched my heart, and my interest in special ed was rekindled.

Over the following summer, a special education teaching job that I am not qualified for totally fell in my lap.

For the past 7 months, that job has been SUCH a gift.

I really enjoy kids who have exceptionalities. I like trying to figure out how they think and try to help them learn. More than that, I just love them as people. I love mentoring them. In my classroom we talk about geometry and literature and history and Newton's laws, but we also talk about dreams and fears and what music we like and families and our ideas. I get to write awesome letters of recommendation for kids who are taking a long shot in going to college, who's GPA certainly won't get them there. I get to fight for them when they aren't getting the help they need. I get to listen to their stories and thoughts that might not get listened to at home. I get to help them think about things in new ways and evaluate how their own actions impact their lives. I get to worry about them and what decisions they will make, and pray for them daily, and laugh and talk and build positive relationships with them five days a week. I get to believe in those kids and tell the world how great they are.

The reason that I am starting my masters, the reason I have decided to commit to teaching after a year of driving my loved one's crazy with flip flopping, is 'my kids'. My students. I love my kids. That's what it comes down to. I love what I get to be to them. I know I will have many more kids throughout my career, and I can't wait to believe in them and treasure them and see what they will do.

So here's to teaching, giving up my stubborn will, spending the next year and a half taking online classes, and that scary but amazing step of trust in committing to what I'm going to be when I grow up.

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5 comments:

Morgan Kishpaugh said...

GO Kelsey!

Katie said...

I started my pre reqs this year for speech language pathology, and I hope to work in schools (like my whole family of teachers ;)) and on a team with sped, school psych and others. It's absolutely right for me and took me the REALLY long road to to find it. Here's to following the path and seeing where it continues to lead! Blessings on your schooling!! (Ps UO has lots of different programs for early intervention, public school sped, etc!) :)

danarema said...

You are already such a caring teacher, you are making a difference in your students' lives. I am glad you are continuing your education towards officially becoming a Special Education teacher. Continue seeking Gods purpose in your life and you will continue to be a blessing to all who know you!☺
Love, Barbie

Debbie Kitterman said...

Yay Kelsey! Congratulations on starting your masters degree and what a great 1st day of school picture - so cute!!! I think we all resist God's nudges along the way so be encouraged, you are not alone :)Oh and I like to think of my stubbornness as determination - not quitting - not giving up - it has served me well over the years, and I am sure yours will serve you well as you go through graduate school. Keep up and persist on! I found you over at #WomenWithIntention today where we are neighbors.

Lisa notes... said...

You are awesome! I'm glad God puts special gifts in people to want to teach special kids. You're one of those people. May the Lord bless you richly as you love on others.