Teaching has forced me to think, act, and feel in ways I never thought I would... For example:
I never thought I'd buy a pregnancy test for a 14 year old and then help her read the results. It came out negative. That time. I know I shouldn't have been the one to do that, but I've grown accustomed to other people who should do it passing the buck or simply refusing to do it, and her mother would have killed her, so I simply said "Don't ever do anything that will give you this scare again." I bet she was inspired by my words and went on to live a life of chastity. And then went on to cure cancer too. I live in hope.
I never considered planning on where I'd most likely survive by hiding during a school shooting. (The closet behind my desk.)
I never thought I'd lower my standards to the point that I'm simply grateful if a student shows up/doesn't fall asleep/doesn't fight/doesn't cuss out their teachers. Of course that doesn't apply to all my kids, just the REALLY special ones.
I never thought I'd be asked if I'd ever stripped on the side for extra money because teaching doesn't pay that well.
I never thought I'd be capable of lying the way I have done: "Oh you were absent yesterday... I missed you!" I figure making them feel valued is worth the lie, even though I'd rather stub my bare foot on a heavy piece of Chippendale furniture than see the kid. Repeatedly. Then walk on glass.
I never thought I'd smell fecal matter on a teenager again since the last time I did volunteer work with the severely handicapped back home.
I never thought I'd come across students who didn't have special needs who read on the third grade level, can't add single digit numbers, recite their times tables, and/or read clocks. How the hell do they get to the 9th grade?!
I never knew I'd have to try to explain a minimum of sixteen times that the Greek myths we read are NOT based on factual historical events. I thus have to endure "how can THAT happen?", "this isn't true, is it?", "this is bull" and "is Zeus Jesus?" over and over until that unit is over. It breaks my heart that so many of them don't get to appreciate the fantastic, imaginative elements of the tales because they're so caught up in only what is real and credible. The only thing they seem to get out of the whole unit is that "Zeus was a pimp!" Sigh. At least they enjoyed Of Mice and Men...
I never thought my job would consist mainly of being a substitute mother, police officer, parole officer, nurse, drug dog, and counselor with a teensy bit of teaching thrown in on a VERY good day. Boy was I naive!
I can't really imagine doing anything else... Unless an opening comes up at Henson, that is, in which case I'd have the opportunity to help educate millions of kids and not just dozens a year. And with puppets. And less of a fear of being hit, or pushed down stairs. But seeing as that is about as possible as my giving birth to the messiah in April, I'll stick to public school special ed. for now.