You know, I never know what to say about myself. This becomes especially apparent when I have to introduce myself to a new group of students, or in job interviews when I've been asked, "What do you want us to know about you, as an educator or otherwise?" It strikes fear into my soul. What do I want you, or anyone else, to know about me? More importantly, what do you care to know about me?
I guess we'll start with the basics.
I'm a newly certified English teacher in Michigan. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2009 with my B.A. in English, with a minor in Psychology. I'm now certified and highly qualified to teach both. MSU's teacher credentialing process, at least for secondary educators in Michigan, is unique. During undergrad, I completed all of the coursework for my B.A. in the areas I wanted to teach, in addition to teacher preparation coursework. Following that, I completed a year-long teaching internship, and more teaching courses, during the 2009-2010 school year. In April 2010, I graduated again and was recommended for my Michigan certification. I spent the summer of 2010 searching for my first teaching job. We were always told during our preparation that the search for our first jobs would be the hardest leg of our journeys to becoming teachers. All I have to say about that is "understatement."
I call myself The Almost Teacher because, while I've met so many goals and hit so many milestones in my young career, there are so many things that I still feel I have to accomplish to be a "real" teacher. There are the logistical things. I have a provisional certification and won't receive a professional certification until I meet certain requirements set forth by the state Department of Education. I have yet to obtain my own classroom, with all of its official trappings (like, oh, a contract, per say). And then, there are personal things. I don't think that I'll consider myself a "real" teacher until I've proved certain things to myself as I strive to become the teacher I want to be and the teacher that my students need.
So, now that I've thoroughly bored you with those mind-numbing details, I guess the other stuff about me can best be expressed through an interpretive dance. Well, no, not really. How about the ol' 25 Things list? Except I'm going to do 35 Things, because 25 isn't enough, but I know I'd be hard-pressed to come up with 50. Brace yourself for randomness:
35 Things about The Almost Teacher
1. No interpretive dance because, well, I can't dance. Not no way, not no how.
2. This lack of dancing skill is not for lack of trying. Embarrassing, emotionally-scarring trying.
3. I used to be organized. Really, really organized. Then I became a teacher.
4. Now, I have piles of stuff at my house that I can't even begin to figure out what to do with.
5. I have a cat who likes to play and frolic among aforementioned piles of stuff.
6. My cat was born in a barn, quite literally. This is probably why he is naughty with my piles of stuff.
7. I also have a dog, who is very old and very senile. I believe this is why he has not killed or maimed the cat who, when not playing in piles of stuff, is terrorizing the dog.
8. My boyfriend of three years is great. He's also studying culinary arts.
9. This is helpful to me, since I don't like to cook, but I like to eat.
10. I'm short. Shorter that most of my past students and, very probably, most of my future students.
11. My height, or lack thereof, seems strange and unfair to me because my father was tall and came from a very long line of tall people. I mean, I have an uncle who is 6'10", for Pete's sake.
12. However, my maternal grandmother was 4'9". That's practically a Polly Pocket.
13. I shamelessly play Nancy Drew computer games, for hours on end.
14. I also shamelessly play The Sims 2. Again, for hours on end.
15. I can spread my toes very far apart, very much like fingers. My toes are also long.
16. This leads to me being able to write my name with my toes and pretty well, at that. Don't ask how I came to learn this about myself.
17. I used to drink a lot of coffee. Now, I drink a lot of Mountain Dew. There is something that I find incredibly satisfying about that first gulp of the Dew, with it's coldness and the way it burns the back of my throat.
18. That being said, I can drink pots of coffee or jugs of Mountain Dew, and then get a good night's rest easily.
19. This is probably because my grandmother let me drink coffee as a toddler. I've heard that coffee stunts your growth. Hmmm...
20. My cultural heritage is a mish-mash of European ancestry. I'm Italian, Polish, German, and Irish. I identify most with the Italian part of my family.
21. I was raised on pasta and meat sauce.
22. Despite all that I was brought up to believe was right and good with them, I hate tomatoes.
23. I also hate canned vegetables.
24. My biggest fear upon entering college was that all I would be able to afford for sustenance was canned vegetables. I was literally terrified.
25. I tutor native South Korean adults in English over the phone. I find this job incredibly rewarding, entertaining, and interesting.
26. After finishing my teacher certification program at MSU, I had 11 teaching interviews during the summer of 2010.
27. I was rejected for 9 of the 11 positions for which I interviewed. This number seems strange, I know. Let me explain.
28. I accepted the long-term subbing position that resulted from my eleventh interview. It was not what I expected, but it was incredibly successful. For one semester, I worked with 135 students I grew to love, and this job eventually led to another position working with students in the same school building.
29. I was offered another job, a full-time position, earlier in the summer. It was in Washington.
30. Not only was it in Washington, it was in Forks, WA. As in, the Forks from the Twilight series. Eat your heart out, Twi-hards.
31. I had to turn the Forks position down, for lack of funding to cover the relocation expense. It was the hardest decision of my life.
32. As I claimed in number 3, I used to be very organized. The evidence of this lies in the fact that my personal library is alphabetized by author's last name.
33. I'm a klutz. I've sprained or nearly fractured both of my ankles too many times to count.
34. As a result of so many sprains, I can feel impending weather changes in my ankle bones. They also click for about half an hour every morning.
35. I love who I am, with all of my quirks, and even with my shortcomings. (Ha. Pun most certainly intended.)