I was talking with one of my coworkers today, sort of connecting the dots to how we'd both ended up working at a college in a testing center.
I knew she'd been a school teacher for several years, elementary through high school. But then she told me she originally wanted to be a nurse.
"I liked science, and took the test, and was accepted into a good school, but I just wasn't sure that I could really do it", she explained.
So she tried the waters and earned her CNA certification.
"The first job they assigned me was in a dementia ward of a nursing home, and in a short period of time, it became a job I just DREADED going to".
It was enough to turn her off nursing school, and she ended up enrolling in an education program instead.
I had a similar try-it-and-see experience when I thought I might want to be a high school teacher. I took a job as a non-licensed para at a high school back in 2017, remember? Do ya?
I figured it was a good way to literally get my foot in the door toward being a licensed teacher and also a way to see if I'd like working in a public high school.
The short answer is, "NOPE".
I won't go into a detailed bitchfest of what I think is wrong with public high school. And really, it's not all bad, it just was not my cup of tea.
I'm grateful for that job since it saved me from putting any more time and energy (and money) into pursuing a teaching license.
I remember one kid, Chris. He was a senior who'd transferred in after moving from another state. He was a bit of a "thug". Didn't work very hard at at school, got into trouble for truancies and such, didn't care much for authority. But he had pretty solid attendance, probably to the disappointment of some of his teachers.
I worked in the study hall, and he would goof around in there while other students were trying to work. He once told me that he didn't have anything to work on, so I told him I'd give him some math problems, which I did.
He worked on them for the remainder of the time and handed the worksheet back to me before leaving. I looked it over, and he'd done it all correctly. That was honestly a surprise.
Another time, he was again acting up, out of boredom I suppose - again having nothing to work on because his class schedule was ridiculously light. I asked if there was something he liked to do that was school related and could be done quietly. He told me he liked to write. Specifically, he liked to write Rap lyrics.
"Great, write some Rap", I enthused.
"You wouldn't like what I write", he responded.
"No, go ahead, write whatever you want", I said. But he still declined, saying it could get him in (more) trouble,
"Okay, write a Rap song about yourself, then", I tried.
To my surprise, he did. To my bigger surprise, he showed it to me and asked what I thought
It wasn't nasty or filled with cusswords - not too many anyway. He wrote about liking basketball - he'd tried out for the school team, but didn't have the grades to stay on the roster - and hanging out and coming up with Rap lyrics. He wrote about missing his friends back in the town he'd moved from. He wrote about his eye for fashion - he was a bit of a sneakerhead and liked hip hop style clothing. The school didn't allow any bling, though.
I found it surprisingly good and thoughtful. And maybe more surprising, he seemed to really want to know what I thought.
There was a pep rally in the gym one day. I was already terribly bored with the job and just there out of obligation. I noticed Chris in the stands among the other seniors. He was trying to get into the cheers - how the different classes try to out scream each other at those things. But he was off to the side by himself and didn't really know the different cheers.
Another day in the study hall, another time I'd pulled him aside for being too rowdy, we were back near my desk, thinking of something he could do quietly for the next hour. He leaned in and whispered,
"I don't really fit in at this school".
I whispered back,
Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Write about a time someone surprised you