At approximately 11 a.m. on August 16, I became (officially) a 1.0 FTE Cross Categorial Teacher for the School District of Fort Atkinson. It's been in the works for a while, but I wanted to wait until I signed a contract to make it public.
Today I signed the contract.
It's a quicker-than-expected step on my road to full licensure; I'm still enroled in WiscEDU's fabulous 10SPED program, which is part of a Master's Degree I'm working toward at St. Mary's University in Minnesota.
I wanted to share my "Personal Statement" with you guys. I wrote this as part of my application to St. Mary's Master's program and submitted it to several local school districts as part of my ongoing job hunt.
I came to teaching the long way around.
In 1992, I enrolled at The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater with the intention of majoring in special education. I started reading the news on the college radio station, and I became enamored with the journalism school. I graduated, became a newspaper reporter, editor; I won some journalism awards. I left journalism for marketing; I became a PR spokesperson, and eventually the director of a marketing department with a $2 million annual budget. After 26 of years of success as a storyteller, both in journalism and business, I ended up back in special education-- working as a substitute teacher in my hometown.
It’s something of a calling. I’ve worked hard and gathered enough wisdom that I’m ready for it now. I used to tell myself that if I can help one marginalized kid find success at school, it will have all been worth it. I’ve helped more than one marginalized kid. I help marginalized kids all the time. My current students are better readers and better people than they were six months ago. This is important work.
It is, hands down, the most important work I have ever done.
I covered a small town’s reaction to the Sept. 11th attacks in 2001. I won awards for helping a community of seniors secure funding for their bus trips. I advocated and helped tell the stories of people with eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and developmental and intellectual disabilities.
But when one of my students smiles because he got his first passing grade in science, that is a magic moment. Not for me, but for him. He knows the taste of success, and the warm feeling of pride for a job well done. Sometimes, for the first time.
I am humbled and proud to have been a part of that student’s journey. Admission to your program would help me to continue to help students make more of these magic moments for themselves.
With the appropriate training and licensure, there is no limit to the way I can help students help themselves.
This school year, I'll be teaching at Fort Atkinson High School, where I'll be a team teacher with 10th - 11th graders and managing a caseload of kids. I can't wait to get started.