Many people do not know how I got into teaching. In undergrad, I started out as a Business major, then to a Communications major, then….accidentally took a class called Intro to Communication Disorders. My educational path changed drastically as I was convinced by the Comm Disorders advisor to switch majors once more to Communication Disorders. That was when I started my journey in hopes of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. After 4 years of undergrad and completing Clinical Practicum, I was totally burnt out. I was exhausted and did not have it in me to continue onto my Masters with a Fellowship to follow. At that time, I was working retail management and decided to apply to other jobs following graduation.
I started my career as a Developmental Specialist in an Early Intervention Program. There I worked with children who are experiencing a developmental delay or who are at risk for delay because of family or environmental challenges. My work provided diagnostic evaluations and worked specifically with children who have an autism spectrum disorder. I provided in-home services where I helped families discover new ways to communicate, learn and improve a child and families’ overall quality of life. It was a very rewarding job but after one year in the position, I wanted to make a bigger impact working with more children. That was when I got my first job in the public schools system.
As I did not have a license to teach, I started my job as a paraprofessional in a preschool classroom. I was very lucky to land a position in one of the best school districts in the state. I learned a tremendous amount from the teachers and administrators and after 2 years, I was ready for more responsibility. My experience working in the public schools made me realize that teaching was my calling.
At the time, I was working the half-day program and nannied afterwards. I knew that I wanted something full-time and was now contemplating returning back to school. I took an Applied Behavioral Analysts position for another school district closer to home working full-time. I enrolled in a Masters Program and was on my way to becoming a Special Education teacher. I even advanced on to become the Kindergarten Special Educator while the current one was on a LOA. I loved the new teachers I worked with and got significantly close to many but unfortunately when practicum rolled around, I was told I would not be compensated for my work. Apparently they enacted a rule a few years back that did not allow one to use hours of work for practicum hours unbeknownst to me.
It was a big blow but my good standing with my old school and my new ABA/Sped experience led me to a position back at where I started. The first public school I ever worked at decided to rehire me and give me a position within their Special Ed K-3 resource room. I was ecstatic! After a successful practicum and getting my Masters degree. I started interviewing. I felt so lucky to get as many interviews as I did. Many from the district I was already working at which was such a blessing as they were so prestigious. When all was said and done, I decided to work for Boston Public Schools.
What brought me here was the same reason that brought me into the field of education in the first place; my second language. Earlier I mentioned that an advisor convinced me to switch to a Communication Disorders major. She was vocal about this because she knew the strong need for Chinese speaking Speech Language Pathologists. The school I teach at now has a Chinese specific SEI strand. I walked into the school thinking I was interviewing for a Sped position but instead was told about another opportunity in K1 which allowed me to use my 2nd language. This was truly a situation where everything happens for a reason. All my early childhood background was being put to good use and I became the school’s first K1/SEI teacher. I’ve been proudly working there for 3 years now and looking forward to many more. My work colleagues have become my best friends and I’m so happy to have found my forever school!