Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week in my school.  So along with all my colleagues I'll be enjoying food, massages, trivia, prizes, and more food!  I truly do appreciate that the PTA takes the time to do this each year, and look forward to it.

I thought it would a good time to tell how I even came to be a teacher.  It was in a pretty round about sort of way, you see my original major in college was Aviation Management.  I entered Southern Illinois University with the intention of becoming an Air Traffic Controller.  I know, kinda crazy, but it's what I thought I wanted to do.  So I settled down to my freshman year, and got to work.

The first year wasn't so bad, so I decided to head back to my native Ohio and work for a church camp for the summer.  Now, this is a place that I had been to quite a bit growing up, my parents would run a camp every summer for a week since I was an infant.  And as I got older I went back as a camper, counselor and eventually as site staff.  I spent the summer doing maintenance and as a counselor when directors needed extras.  The campers would come for a week, we'd clean up and get another batch the next week. That is except for one group of campers.

Caring/Sharing Camp was for adults with disabilities.  The campers came from group homes and their own homes to spend 4 days at camp.  It was a typical camp experience - hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, cookouts - everything you'd want in a camp.  I got to spend 3 weeks helping them experience camp, and it changed my life.  After spending just one week with them I was hooked, and realized that I was headed down the wrong path.  It didn't take me long to come to a very important decision.  I was changing my major to Special Education when I went back to school.

So I did, my parents (both teachers by the way) were hesitant, but supportive, my girlfriend (now my wife), was behind me.  I talked to a counselor and that is they say is that.  I had no idea how much it would change me, but I can say honestly I can't imagine my life any other way.  I can't see myself sitting in a dark room staring at a radar, as soon as I made my decision it just felt right.

So, during this week, while I'm enjoying all the treats we'll be getting.  I'll be thinking about my teachers and how different my life would have been if they hadn't shown me what I really wanted to be.

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