I Love My Career!

valentines-day-624440_1280I often hear words or phrases such as, “I can’t believe you do that job.” Or “There’s a special place in heaven for people like you.” I hear, “Man, no way would I do that job.” Or “I used to do that job, until a kid broke my collarbone.” Or, “Don’t those students just need discipline and they wouldn’t act that way?”

The list of the phrases I hear goes on and on. But I’m here to say that I have the best career in the world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, there are days I get frustrated! There are situations when I want to loudly scream about the injustices that are being done with students, only to hear my voice bouncing off the walls with no one listening. In the end, though, I would take this over any other opportunity. This is my calling and this is my dream. I read a quote the other day that said, “Find out what you love doing best, and find someone who will pay you for it.” I have that!

I didn’t know I would end up here, and I didn’t even know how much I would love it until one day not too long ago. I was standing at the edge of my campus, watching a staff member talk with a student. In their connection I saw the anger fall away, the student listened, the staff put their arm around the student, and they walked back to class, smiles on both their faces. There was also the time when the noise fell away. The day was done and the sun was setting on the campus. There were the sounds left only by the birds and I could feel the successes of the day wash over me. Students gaining access to fair and equitable material. Things that they once upon a time didn’t have. Students accepting responsibility for a choice they made, and a student running up and hugging me, calling me, “yoga teacher.”

At the end of the day, in the quiet, I don’t see the battles I fought and lost. I see the battles the team and I fought and won because I know tomorrow will be another day. If you’re struggling to hear the quiet, to find the inner peace and success, I encourage you to sit in your classroom or walk your school halls at the beginning or end of the day, before the hustle and listen to the quiet. Find the spaces that bring you a positive memory of a moment you shared with a student.

These moments allow me to fiercely fight for the rights of students to engage in free and appropriate education. These are the moments that help me to re-center and re-engage with the purpose of why I do this work. This is my battle cry. This is my calling and I can’t say it enough, I love my career and my team. If you love your opportunity, share in the comments below and share with me your story or your success. And if you’ve lost the love you once felt for this career, I encourage you to journal about a moment that made you smile or write it down on a sticky every day. Save it and at the end of the week read them. It might change your perspective.

 

Dr. Austine Etcheverry

I started my educational career as a 1:1 paraprofessional for a student who was blind and had a cognitive impairment. After this amazing opportunity, I decided teaching was my passion. In 2007 I became a certified special education teacher and taught 5th – 8th grade resource. Throughout my career in education, I have held various leadership roles such as a technology coach, an exceptional needs coach and an IEP coordinator. Three years ago, I decided to begin pursuing my National Board Certification and was fortunate enough to achieve in December 2018. I currently have the privilege of being the principal in the Avondale Elementary School District at a school for students with an emotional disability. I have my own social media company where I write and create dental blogs. I have also had the honor of publishing articles in a dental magazine as well as published a young adult science fiction series. In December 2018, I became a certified yoga instructor and recently completed my Doctorate in Education Leadership and Administration from Aspen University.

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