I‘m not sure what possessed me to go to college for criminal justice. In 2004 I’m sure it seemed like a great idea, but after being in the “field” as a paralegal, I realized I hated everything about it. I remember, and I will never live this down, the day Rob told me that I should switch my major to teaching because “you’re so great with kids and I see you doing that more than criminal justice”. My response: “I already have one semester of CRJ so what’s the point”.
Well, the point would be that I spent over $30,000 in student loans to find out that I hate what I went to school for, only to return to school 2 years later to get my teaching certificate. There was nothing wrong with going back to school Fall Semester of 2010, except that I was getting married in less than two months from the date of my first class, I was still working at the law firm full time, and I was exhausted! That December I got into an accident going to class because I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at the wheel, hit a parked car and flipped my car onto its roof. Thankfully I walked away with a scratch on my chest from the seat belt but I’m still paying for that accident. The following spring semester I found out we were pregnant, but we miscarried. What was I thinking? I’m a full time student, a full time employee, a full time newlywed … I was driving myself insane and I had no idea at the time. We got pregnant the following Fall semester and I realized that I would be pregnant during the “professional semester” portion of the program where I spent 7 weeks on campus from 9 – 4 taking four 2 hour classes back to back (to back to back). The classes were intense and took no prisoners! I remember staying later on campus to finish work because I knew once I was home, the couch would be calling my name. At the point I started the professional semester, I was 18 weeks pregnant and finally over the morning sickness. After the 7 weeks of classes, we had 7 weeks of being in the classroom. This was basically a preview of student teaching. We had 7 weeks to teach our designated classes, perform our core assignments to be handed into the teachers, and we were observed by our professor. To say I was exhausted is putting it mildly. I remember my feet being so swollen that they would have indentations. No elevation or water intake made it better and I wanted to die every time I sat down. We finished classes May 7 and I gave birth May 16. As I explained in my previous post, I was induced because of high blood pressure and I’m sure the stress of school and being on my feet so long had much to do with that. I was put on bed rest at the end of April but I had to finish my teaching so I struggled through that and finished, thank goodness.
Student teaching was another nightmare. The stars all aligned when I had Robbie during my summer break from school. I had already quit the law firm to focus on teaching and in anticipation for student teaching. I couldn’t really work at the law firm during student teaching since you’re in the classroom just like a regular teacher. I had from May 16 to August 29th to be at home with my baby, a normal maternity leave until it was time for it to end …
I‘ll never forget having to drop off my baby at his grandmother’s house for the first time. My little peanut wasn’t going to be cared for by me. I wanted to die. I would have rather quit school then and just kept being a stay at home mom. I cried the entire way to Allentown (45 minutes) and barely had tears left! I couldn’t contain myself. What if he cried for milk and they didn’t know? What if he wanted to be cradled a certain way, the way I knew he wanted to be held? Would he be okay sleeping in a pack and play when all his naps were in his crib or in his mommy’s arms? I wanted to die. It was like someone had ripped out my entire heart and placed me in hell.
So, in the weeks to come I realized I was wrong and my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, was right. I should have done teaching from the beginning. This wouldn’t have happened. I might have already had a job and I would have had the summer off with my baby and known that the next summer would be here before we knew it and I would be home with him again. Instead, I finished my teaching certification, struggled to pass the final Praxis exam, and now I’m working at another law firm in Stroudsburg, making less than what I made at my old law firm and not making nearly as much as I would be making if I had already been a teacher. Isn’t that a kick in the balls? Would I change the path I took, yes! But the outcome is much sweeter. I appreciate my schooling more and I did better than I would have done if I was a 20 year old. I focused more and I knew that I had to pass in order to be good at what I wanted to do. I also have much more respect for the job and it isn’t just a paycheck.
I can’t wait to be a teacher. I know it will happen sooner rather than later, but while I pound the pavement, I appreciate having something to fall back on and knowing that I will not go without a job because I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and a few certifications/diplomas also.