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Things That Shaped Me: Becoming a Teacher

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things That Shaped Me: Becoming a Teacher

This should be Things That Shaped Me Part 8 but I didn't name Nico's birth, the twins' birth, losing Rocco or Gia's birth as Things that shaped me 4, 5, 6, and 7 (oops).

I went to NIU. I don't know if I said that before but I did. I ended up there for 5 years because of my car accident. I went through graduation in December and then left school to student teach after winter break. It was hard being apart from Leo but I threw myself into student teaching and really felt like I had found what I was meant to do with my life. Leo's dad was battling cancer so it was really a tough time all the way around. Leo is a pretty stoic kind of guy so he didn't really let me be there for him while his dad was sick so it was hard to know my place. I tried to help him but I am sure I failed miserably.

There was a job fair at NIU that I attended and my dad, who was an associate superintendent of a local school district, told me that I had an interview with someone from Carol Stream and to go up and introduce myself but not to take up his time. What followed has to be one of my most embarrassing moments ever. I went, stood in the enormously long line for the man from Carol Stream and when it was my turn, I said, "Hi, Mr. So and So, I am AnnMarie Cameron and we have an interview next week so I won't take up your time. I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you I am looking forward to talking with you." He smiled and said, "We do? Hmmm, let me check my schedule. Nothing is here yet but that doesn't mean we don't. Let's set a time while I have you here." We did and I left. I visited the Dallas, Texas station and spent about 45 minutes talking to the guy there. I'm not sure why I even went to that station except that I was always drawn to Texas and had dreams of Leo and I getting away from it all (his dad being sick wasn't the only obstacle for us at the time). The administrator for the Dallas school had me convinced that I should move to Dallas and that they needed teachers unlike Illinois, where there was one opening for hundreds of applicants. At the end of the conversation, he presented me with a contract and offered me a job. He said he'd pay for Leo and me to go down and check it out and really the whole thing was so exciting and unreal. Leo and I went out to celebrate and discuss things. With all Leo was dealing with and me being a huge family-oriented person, we decided we couldn't leave our families. I do regret not at least going down and checking it out. I wonder where my life would be right now had I taken that job. The following week, I walked into the Carol Stream district office and Mr. Personnel was laughing. He said, "There was either a miscommunication or you are the most clever applicant I have ever met. You didn't have an interview set up and yet, here you are." I was MORTIFIED! I didn't even know what to say except, "It was definitely a miscommunication. I am so sorry." See, the superintendent of Carol Stream was my dad's first boss. They were at a meeting when he told my dad for me to come in for an interview in April. Mr. So and So was very nice about it and said, "Well, now I am intrigued by this whole thing and can't wait to see what more you have to say." I got a second interview with the principal of the building I would be hired for and he relayed the embarrassing story and said he, too, was curious. I got the job and the funniest part was that when I accepted, I never asked how much money I was going to make. It was the first question Leo asked me when I told him I did it! I had gotten the job! I went in and signed the contract and my dad's old boss, the superintendent was there. He was very sweet and said, "I want you to know that you got this job on your own. Through a series of miscommunications, no one here knew that your dad and I are friends. Principal so and so and Personnel so and so are new to this district and area that they don't know who your dad is. You earned this opportunity." That meant the world to me at the time (now, after being out of work for so long, when I want to go back, I don't care if it is because of who I know that gets me the job). I couldn't wait to tell Leo and my family that because I did wonder, "Is it because of my dad or did they like me?" Again, Leo asked, "What's the salary?" Again, I had no idea. I wanted to be a teacher more than anything. Jobs were scarce so it never occurred to me to not take a position because of money. I was going to have my own classroom! I was going to get a chance to teach! Getting paid was just a bonus.

I know I talked about my love of teaching before so I won't bore you with more of that. I'll just leave this as not a day goes by that I don't miss teaching being a part of my life. It shaped who I am because something happens to you when you fulfill a dream. It gives you the hope that anything is possible.


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