The best way to learn about me is to probably read what I've put up at various websites. I started Embrace Challenge in 2005 after I left the classroom for the first time, and while I was co-teaching with someone who was really good at making me look like the cause for anything that could go wrong in our teaching situation. That dynamic, plus the program being not up to the standards I wanted pre-service teachers to have, led me to leaving that job. Because of the stress caused by Voldermort (I could not say her name without some vile reaction), I got a few new MS symptoms, and like I said, that was a position that was way shorter than it should have been.
Actually all of my working positions have been shorter than I want them to be. In the last 15 years it has been because I have Multiple Sclerosis that just does not want to stop messing up my life. I think every job that I've left by choice has been because the MS stopped me from being able to do the job. I left my first teaching position because I was having difficulty walking. and was having fatigue issues. It got to the point I'd come home Friday night and be asleep until Monday morning. I am a science teacher. I was hired to teach chemistry because our school needed someone who did not treat students like they were idiots. My teacher colleagues made my life pretty easy in some ways because they were so mean to the students, and did not bother to actually teach anything. If a student was in MY class, they were excited because they knew they would be expected to do work. I tried making as many activities as hands-on as possible. My favorite days were when students would complain because they had to do another lab. he he he.
I did not get rehired at the first school I taught in. They did not have to tell me why, so they didn't. That was a major let down, but it let me go to a different district where I was hired with the idea I'd do something with biotechnology as a class for the kids. In my second year at that school, my third year of teaching, I went through all of the motions to get the course written, approved, and established so it could start the third year I was at the school, in 1999. I found out on March 4, 1998 that I have MS. On March 5, 1998, I learned the district approved the course and was going to give each high school $10,000 to start the program. I taught my first biotech classes either that fall or the following spring. We were on a 4x4 and at the moment I do not remember exactly when we started. I lasted for 5 more years.
In 2007 a friend of mine asked me to teach biotech at his school because their biotech teacher was leaving. It was only one section at a school on an A/B schedule so it seemed possible. Knowing this would probably be my last time in the classroom, I went for National Boards, and passed in 2010. In December 2009, I started having vertigo and dizziness full time. I may have only been two tenths of a person at the school, but I certainly had enough dizziness for a full time position. After about 3 months of this, I figured it would be better for me to leave the classroom. The other teachers at the school did not care if I was there, the person I shared a room with did not want to make too many accommodations for my disabilities, and the kids were tough for me to work with because they had become so ingrained with the idea the teacher talks, they listen, then they barf up the information on a test. It was a very different demographic than I had taught in the past, and these kids had been subject to NCLB for many years. If you have been reading my blogs, you may recall the numerous times I pointed out how difficult it was to work at that particular school. Having hidden disabilities did not really matter because I was a nobody there, I might as well not have been a teacher there at all.
I left the classroom that has tables and chairs in 2010, and immediately started taking classes online with the idea I would be an online teacher. Boy was I naive. I lost my first job after being there for 3 months because I did not understand how the online teaching culture worked. I did learn, though, that you need a credential to teach public school students in any state, even if it is remote and online. I now have a teaching credential in 23 states. They are going to be useless if I can't find a school that treats students as people, and not as numbers to indicate enrollment or passing rates. The chemistry curriculum at the first school where I taught was so scary that after taking a few classes online at Merritt Community College, I went searching for a university that could prepare me for being an online teacher. After trying out courses at a couple schools, I chose Boise State. I was very impressed with the people who took classes with me, and with the variety of classes Boise State offers.
If you want to know more about my last 5 years, check out my LinkedIn account. Please connect with me if you choose. I finished the MET last spring. You can find that portfolio here. I also started blogging about virtual schools based on my experiences as a teacher and as a student. I am hoping what I did in this class will help launch me with following through with some of my ideas for Learning STEM a la Carte. I cut back on a lot of what I was doing because of the falls I had at the end of January. Technically my health stability is questionable with respect to walking. If I don't have to actually go any where in person, I'm fine. I now use a walker in my home, which is not how I was before January. I can drive, but it is very limited. If I can get someplace on public transit, I do. There are a couple pictures of me in this project where I'm seated in assistive equipment. How many science teachers have you seen teach from a wheelchair. Personally, I don't know of any.