For the last two years, I have been a 6th grade teacher. I’ve coached middle school volleyball and soccer and really found my groove. Middle school is where I felt I belonged and I was committed to the idea. The fact that most people couldn’t imagine the idea of working in a middle school further confirmed the fact that I was someone who was right for the job – that I was someone who could truly relate to the kiddos and make a difference.
However, transferring my teaching license in Michigan has been quite frustrating. In Colorado I was licensed K-6 for elementary school. In Michigan, elementary school is defined as K-5. Despite the fact that I passed the Praxis test and was endorsed in secondary Language Arts, Michigan doesn’t care. They will not simply accept a passed test but rather expects you to complete a program and either major or minor in the topic. I already have a Master’s degree, so having to go to school for the same thing I’m already endorsed in (assuming I am committed to secondary education) seems silly to me. Lastly, I have to pass two Michigan state tests in order to receive an official teaching license – one of which has three subtests. Needless to say, I have been quite disappointed finding out all the hoops I have to jump through to be able to do what I love.
Because Michigan only approved me to teach elementary school, I’ve had to adjust my whole mindset. It’s something I am no longer used to and have to just start accepting that I could still love teaching elementary. After all, I have worked with kids of all different ages and have loved it. I went to school to teach elementary school because clearly I enjoyed that age as well. I think I just have forgotten how much fun that age is too.
I did a practicum in a preschool, I’ve done a practicum in a 2nd grade classroom, I student taught 4th grade, I taught for part of a year 5th grade, and then have done 2 years in 6th grade. I loved 4th grade – in fact I thought for a while it was my ideal grade. I loved the 2nd grade practicum – the students were cute, they felt safe with me, and I wanted to take them home as one of my own.
So despite the fact that the idea of teaching little ones scare me, I think it’s because I’m nervous I may not be as strong as I once was teaching those topics. However, I have an interview for a 1st or 2nd grade position (it may have changed now so I’m not entirely sure) and I need to start getting excited. There are a lot of benefits to teaching elementary school as well – particularly less grading. Regardless of what I teach, as long as I have a good team and I have a sense of confidence teaching what I’m teaching, I know I’ll be successful. I know I’m a good teacher. I’m passionate about teaching, and if that enthusiasm continues, I know I will only grow to be a better teacher and hopefully become a major asset to any school I’m at.
For right now, I need to go with the flow. I need to keep an open mind and just embrace where life takes me. God has a plan for me and I need to relinquish any control I’m trying to hold on to. Let’s be honest, I really don’t have any control. I make plans and God laughs. So keep your fingers crossed because one way or another, I will have a classroom of my own once again!