There are a lot of paths to become a teacher. My path, I went to a teaching school in college, and what I studied was elementary education. I have a K through 6 license to teach general education. There are a lot of teachers now that go through alternative paths to licensure. They come from another career and then they realize, oh, teaching would be cool, which is also great because they come from a different perspective, a different career maybe is business or corporate America. Even though I went through the teaching college and everything like that, took all the courses, like that first day I was still super nervous and I can't say I was fully prepared. Still progressing every day but I don't think that it's possible to be fully prepared to become a teacher. I remember that first day I had this like huge nervous feeling and scared and fear and those are always the best times for you to grow. Being able to get through not even that first day but the first week after that it was like, aww man, okay, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Employers and principals are looking for people who are really reflective and really on their practice and have a growth mindset to continue to grow and progress. We have such a big emphasis in our school around coaching and that progress you make as a teacher. Definitely in the interview that's one of the main questions that is asked, do we feel comfortable being video taped, do we feel comfortable with in the moment coaching and a lotta times you're gonna be asked to teach a lesson and then a few minutes after you teach it reflect on that lesson and pick out things that you did well and what you could improve on so definitely principals are looking for people that reflect on their practice and are willing to grow. I feel like being a black male teacher in the elementary, going into becoming an elementary teacher really gave me an advantage in finding a job, being bilingual, so there was a lot that I brought to the table naturally that helped me find a job, but I do recognize that it can be tough for teachers. Especially is you're not a math or a science teacher to find a job and maintain it. I know historically in our area, here in Montbello, where schools like closing and definitely schools in turn around and things like that, a lotta teachers they go from school to school every year and so I've been super fortunate to be in a school for my fifth year. I know that it's so important for kids, especially now a days where they have access to so much technology, that they have experiences with black males who are positive and that are in schools, that are serving kids, and that are teaching with love. I feel like without that it can be really tough for the kids to see themselves being more than what is shown to them on TV or through music. Long-term aspirations? I aspire to stay in this community here in Montbello and build on the connections that I've made with families and kids and my colleagues. The typical career path for a teacher has definitely changed over the generations. I mean a lotta teachers that I had were teachers for 30 years or 20-something years and really experienced and really good at what they did and they were happy being teachers and I think things have shifted where teachers aren't being teachers for as long as they were before, so it's important to develop leadership among teachers who have experience. Like in my position I'm a new teacher leader this year and it's been really fun and challenging and continues to be a challenge but at our school we've done a lot of growth from within and empowering teachers to move up and become administrators. There are so many jobs in the main office and there's some teachers kinda fall back and do like a liaison role with parent engagement. There are definitely online opportunities to teach online. Opportunities to teach college level courses and share your teaching experience with adults who are becoming teachers. The amount of drive that you have to have to become a teacher, you would be successful at anything right, but definitely having that passion for teaching, it's not easy, it's really difficult, you have to think and change your instruction as you go. You have to be humble every day because what you're teaching isn't working so you have to change it up in some way. There are so many things that you have to think about as a teacher every day that we are powerful. My colleagues are super powerful and so knowledgeable about the world and about people and all those things. Aw, man, it's frustrating, I mean of course it's frustrating, as far as what we're making we don't feel respected and in general a lotta people say disrespectful things about teachers and kids being in good classrooms with good teachers but yet they are discouraged from becoming teachers. It's frustrating. Great teachers are going to drive and influence the future more than, I believe, any other profession.
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