What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? - Alexandra
In second grade when we were asked “what we wanted to be when we grew up?” all the other girls answered veterinarians. I didn’t want to be like them, but I did want to work with animals so I answered “A farmer”! That marked the beginning of my ever changing journey to my choice of careers. By the end of elementary school, I decided that my new career would be a marine biologist, because I wanted to work, swim and save the whales. I was obsessed, making posters and researching all the different types of whales. Deciding how I was going to save them from the harm that humans being were causing them. This obsession lasted only about a year and a half. A doctor! That’s what I answered when I was asked what I wanted to be at the end of high school. I looked through anatomy books and was the most attentive student in chemistry and biology class. I applied and got accepted into health sciences in CEGEP. When I got there though, I hit a brick wall. Higher education was nothing like elementary and high school. You actually had to study! I did finish my diploma, but was no longer sure about what I wanted to be. When applying to university I figured I would apply to four different programs figuring I wouldn’t be accepted into all. To my surprise, I had to choose between, a forensic scientist, pre-med, a kineseologist, and a teacher. Ugh! Being a teacher fit into everything that I was looking for. Like a farmer, working hard didn’t scare me. I want to be out in the field doing hands on work. Like a marine biologist, passion for what I was doing was important. Making a difference, even if small, is what drives me. And like a doctor, I wanted to help people. So I decided to take a chance on being a teacher.
My first teaching job was as an English second language teacher in the French school board in Montréal. At first, I enjoyed the idea of being the only English teacher in a school. It made me feel important. Unfortunately, I quickly became disenchanted by this. Being the only teacher meant three things; one I needed to plan for 13 groups from grades one through six, two, I had to grade these 13 groups sometimes based on 2 lessons, and three, I had no colleagues to consult with if I had questions. I didn’t feel like I was making the impact that I initially felt that I could.
I began searching for other options. Most available teaching jobs were for ESL and I wasn’t too keen on doing what was making me so frustrated to begin with. I kept searching until I came upon a listing for a job as a special education teacher. I read over the job description several times and figured it couldn’t be any worse than what I was doing. After the interview, the administrators gave me a tour of the school. What I saw would have scared most. Small groups of profound mentally disabled students, some non-verbal, some not even toilet trained. But what I saw was an opportunity to make a difference and I decided to jump into this adventure with both feet. My chance to be out in the field doing hands on work, and using my passion to help people.