Life Update Part 1 | New Job & Career Plans!

Welcome back to my blog! I wanted to update you all on everything that has been going on in my life recently. I did life update a few months ago, but I deleted it because I felt like my thoughts were all over the place. I wanted to update you all in that post, but I didn’t want to speak too quickly on a couple things until I knew they were happening for sure.

Well, fast forward to now, I’m happy to announce that I started working as Special Education Paraprofessional on February 2nd. I’m specifically a 1 on 1 Special Education Paraprofessional for a kindergarten student who’s in a wheelchair. For privacy reasons, I won’t disclose the district or school I work for, but I will say that it’s an amazing elementary school. I love working there so much. The faculty and staff are so friendly and helpful. I felt extremely welcomed when I first started.

Left to right: Mrs. Harrison (Kindergarten Parapro), me, and Ms. Dial (Kindergarten Teacher)

I also loved the classroom I was working in. I was able to bond with not only the student that I was hired to support but all of the students in the classroom, and they each hold a special place in my heart. The teacher and other parapros that worked in the classroom were great. We all worked really well together. It has been an overall amazing experience. I can’t thank an old friend of mine enough, who is a Special Education Teacher at the school, for posting about the position on her Facebook and responding to me right away when I inquired about it. She actually put in a good word for me, and that’s how I was able to get the job. I’m forever grateful for her and God.

School is now out for the summer, and I’m preparing to work as an Instructional Paraprofessional in our Summer Learning Experience Program, which I’m super stoked about. This role is different from my role as a 1 on 1 Sped Para. I won’t be supporting just one student; I’ll be supporting students in 3rd-5th grades. I’m happy to get some more experience working at the school and with different students. I will be sure to keep you all updated on my journey.

End of the year gift bags for the students (I did pink for the girls and red for the boys). Each student got a little note to keep and remember me by.

If you’re new here, I graduated in 2016 from the University of West Georgia with a B.A. in English. My plan after college was to work in the journalism/writing field. My plan was never to be a teacher or parapro. Not many people know this, but my dad really wanted me to pursue teaching after graduating college and struggling to find jobs in my desired field. If you read my Life Update | Growth, Healing, and Finding myself, you’re familiar with how I’ve struggled to find jobs and how that really started to weigh on my mental health the past 5 years. There were many times when people including my dad would ask, “Why don’t you just teach?” My response would always be, “I never really thought about it. It’s not my passion, but I will look into it.”

Well, I did look into it in 2018. A former coworker told me about the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP) program. For anyone who may be unfamiliar, it’s a non-traditional educator preparation program that leads to certification; candidates are paid to teach while earning their certification. I never knew a program like that existed. When my former coworker told me about it, I remember thinking that was amazing and looked into it right away. I attended the informational, and I decided that I wanted to give it a try. However, I had a ton of questions that I never could get answered for one reason or another, so I just gave up, which is something I fully regret. If there’s something you want, you have to keep going after it and not give up so easily like I did. But I guess that kind of goes back to what I was saying about teaching not being my passion (or so I believed), which is probably why it was so easy for me to give up on the GaTAPP program at the time.

Working as a parapro has really changed my perspective. As I mentioned, I have fallen in love with the school I work at and with the students. It all really opened my eyes to the possibility of me being a teacher. The main reason I took the job was to get some experience working in a classroom to see if teaching is something I can see myself doing long-term. I figured I would like my job as a parapro, but I didn’t expect to like it this much. Being able to help out in classrooms and support both the teachers and students has made me realize how much I enjoy helping students reach their full potential. It all happened so fast. I’ve only been working as a parapro for a few months. But honestly, I think somewhere deep down inside I’ve always been passionate about teaching; my passion just got lost along the way.

Teacher Appreciation gift from one of the students.

Growing up, I would always play teacher either by myself with imaginary students, or if my cousins were around, I would sometimes pretend to be their teacher. I would create assignments for us to do, and I would grade them. Out of all the things I could’ve been doing as a child, I chose to play teacher a lot. Even when I got a little older, like in middle school, I would still play teacher. I remember genuinely enjoying it. Most kids have imaginary friends. Well, me, I had imaginary students (aside from when I would play with my cousins). It’s so funny to think about it now. It honestly makes me a little sad. I don’t know where that passion went. I think overtime my passion for writing eventually took over, and I forgot all about wanting to be teacher.

More gifts!

 As a child, I would also write poems or short stories and share them with my family. They would always tell me that I was a great writer for my young age. In 6th grade, I won a writing contest, and my picture and essay were published in the newspaper. I think that for me solidified that I really was a great writer for my age. In high school, I was chosen to be editor of the school’s newspaper. My senior year I interned at County Lines and got to work with a professional, which is when I realized that writing could actually one day be a career for me. After graduating high school and deciding to attend the University of West Georgia, I applied for a journalism scholarship, and to my surprise, I won. I remember thinking, “Wow. I’m sure there were several great candidates, and out of all of them, I was chosen.” The scholarship required that I submit at least 1 article to the school’s paper per semester for the duration of the scholarship. I ended up doing more than 1 article a semester because I enjoyed writing so much. So, as you can see, everything I was doing was geared towards me being a writer. I think my passion for teaching got lost along the way but was always there in the background. It took for me to get a job as a parapro for me to realize it.

Don’t get me wrong, writing will always be a passion for me. I started my blog in 2017 because of it, and I feel like I’ll always be a blogger. I enjoy sharing my life, my love for fashion, and being an inspiration to others. My blog has gotten me through the past 4 years—all the struggles and setbacks. I’ve always had my blog to keep me motivated no matter what I was going through. The only thing that’s changing now is that I have another passion that I would like to pursue. That being said, I’m really considering getting certified to teach. Not sure when I will start the process. I do want to work as a parapro for a little while longer because I enjoy it so much, and I’ve only been with my student for a short time. I would like to move up to 1st grade with her and then apply for the GaTAPP program after that. We shall see what happens. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be sure to update you all along the way.

Thanks for reading. This is part 1 of my life update. I’ll be back with part 2 very soon.

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I hope to see you back here next time.

Xx,

Kristen

2 thoughts on “Life Update Part 1 | New Job & Career Plans!

  1. Congratulations Kristen!!

    I have a few line sisters who are teachers and I’m sure they would help guide you through that certification process! Onward and upward

    Liked by 1 person

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