Care-taking to Teaching-- A Second and Third Journey
Most people in life can expect to have to take car of their parents in some way or form as they age. Me? I have been taking care of my parents since I was 14.
See, my parents are both disabled. There are enough physical ailments and mental maladies between the two to fill a textbook. Without getting into specifics, my father is a 300 lb man who I have had to, routinely, physically get dressed and help move around. My mother is like a cracked china doll we must be very careful with, and assist her even with lifting a half gallon of milk. It's been my life for what feels like as long as I can remember, and I am in my late 20s now.
I worked on my Bachelors Degree in Intercultural Relations in Florida while living with my parents. I helped support the house hold with my work, and I also helped support them-- doing everything from groceries and cooking to hour chores and running them to doctors. This was all done while attending school full time and working a full time and part time job.
When I finished my BA I took a year off. In early 2015 my aunt came to help out her sister and my father and I left to seek out myself and learn who I was-- besides just my parents keeper. My journey took me to South Korea where I was an English Language Teacher for a little over a year. I found love, adventure, my hobbies-- I really did discover myself! And it was NICE. I was happy and not burnt out for the first time in who-only-knew how long! I sent money home every paycheck to help my parents with their bills.
Upon returning to the USA I moved to upstate NY into the town my brother was working in. I enrolled in my Masters Degree in Education, taught as a long-term sub teaching ELA to ESE students in a 12-1-1 class room setting. I already knew most of the coping mechanisms for my students since I took so long taking care of my parents! Similar to Korea, I continued to send money home...
I took my certification tests and worked my way through my certification tests-- passed them all with flying colors. Then came something called the EDTPA.
It. Was. A. Nightmare.
The EDTPA was the one thing standing between me and my teaching career! The issue was, I needed a full time long term position in a school I knew the demographics of inside and out. I needed to know my students, inside and out... And as a Sub, I couldn't do this. You see, I needed to plan lessons, explain why I planned them the way I did and then record myself teaching and explain why I taught the way I taught. It sounds easy-- but here I am 2 years later without a certification. I was unable to secure a position where I could film my class and write about it. In that time, my other exams have all expired.
I was awarded my MSEd in 2018 and have been struggling to try and get my NYS certification since 2016. It's now 2020!!!
That said, I have not given up my dream job as an educator. Instead, I have decided to take a half step back so I may keep moving forward. I am returning to Florida.
Hard facing down 30, I am determined to get my career going!!! I plan on getting my initial certification in ELA and ESE-- as well as an additional TESOL cert. The issue is, this is the first time I am making a move without a plan.
I am scared. What if Florida proves just as hard as NY to get my certification? What if I fail-- again?
I am entering a situation where I can not support my parents, for the first time, and I feel guilty-- despite reassurances that it is okay and that I need to look out for myself. I feel tethered, despite now being free. My aunt assures me she has my parents taken care of.
And so begins my third journey and attempt to make a career for myself as a teacher.
Wish me luck! Any advice is so much more than welcome. I move in two weeks and feel more than a little overwhelmed.
Path Forward is a nonprofit organization on a mission to empower people to restart their careers after time spent focused on caregiving. We fulfill this mission by working with companies to create and run mid-career internships — also known as “returnships” — that give women and men a jump start back to a professional career, while giving companies access to a diverse, untapped talent force.
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