Hi! My name is Paige and I’m a teacher.
Gosh, that felt nice to say. The first step to recovery is to admit it, right?
I’ve been teaching for 5 years, and teaching is hard.
I knew I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in high school. I knew teachers didn’t make a lot of money and that the world hates them, but for some reason I still wanted to be one. I still remember, to this day when my friend said, “Why would you want to be a teacher? They don’t make any money!” I remember being so hurt by this because I realized at that point that people live their life worrying about money, instead of learning. I think about that moment a lot. Mostly because of the irony that this particular individual is an avid acid dropper who definitely does not make any money being an artisanal art collector – yes – that’s his job – but I’m not going to judge, because I’m just a teacher.
Regardless, I had a romantic idea of education and teaching in general. I think we all do. teachers have made us and have broke us. In our lives, we spend more time with our teachers during our week than our own parents.
And I’m not saying that’s a good thing. Kids should probably spend more time with their parents, but let’s be really, teachers – that’s not always an option for all of our students – and the education system in America is not going to change it’s school day anytime soon.
When I started the quest to become a teacher, no one told me I had to jump through 47,000 hoops with Teacher Performance Assessments (TPAs), credential classes, student teaching, essays, psychology textbooks, and yuck – collaborative working groups with other adults.
Before entering the field, no one told me about IEPs or 504s or differentiated instruction or how to teach 40 students in a classroom.
Before entering the field, no one told me about how poverty affects education levels, testing scores, meals, and mental health.
The industry started to open up it’s ugly, disturbing insides to me as I walked deeper into the abyss and I started to realize that my duty was something bigger then just “hanging” out in class with some kids each day. This was a job for the strong, the compassionate, and the upholders of education as a concept.
I grew up in Redlands, CA where I attended public school. My mom was an educator so she was always around on my school campuses. I was always a good student and the leader in all my extracurricular activities. I am a career high schooler, I’ll admit it. I was better at high school than anything else I’ve ever done – that’s probably why I teach high school – like a ghost who has to return to where it has unfinished business. Teaching is both my unfinished business and my passion.
I went to UC Irvine to study history and education, and then I had a brief awkward millennial period where I tried to “make money” in “retail,” like that’s a thing. Then, I woke up from being 23, and went back to school and became a teacher.
I did my student teaching in San Bernardino – at the worst-testing school in California. A 98% student population below the poverty line with a 90% minority population, 80% of which English was a second language. Sooooo, that was an experience.
Then I got my own classroom out in Palm Springs. I adored that school, the staff, and the admin, but I just felt like it wasn’t the place for me. I learned a lot, developed as a person and an educator, but then, when it was time, I left to my current school in Los Angeles.
I now work at an all-boys private Jesuit school in downtown LA and I love every minute of it. I’m obsessed with this place. It challenges me in ways that I need to be challenged and fosters my strengths and helps them grow. I currently teach AP World History and AP Gov. (two new curriculums that I had never taught before, so I’m basically a first year teacher again).
I am not an expert in teaching – I am far from it. But, before I get too old and crotchety, I wanted to share my experiences with you and hopefully hear from you about your experiences as well!
In my free time, I practice a bunch of yoga, read, grade papers, and hang out with my husband, Mark and puppo, Olive.