Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith Apples

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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.

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