Mulling Over My Title

I am going to embark on this journey and I want you to come along for the ride. It's been really interesting and I'm ready to tell my tale. Thus begins The Celebrity of Teaching.
Beginning - Trials and Tribulations

I'm a survivor,
I'm not gonna give up,
I'm not gon' stop,
I'm gonna work harder,
I'm a survivor,
I'm gonna make it,
I will survive,
Keep on survivin',
-Destiny's Child

I know it sounds dumb, but there are lots of parallels with teaching and being a celebrity. Yes, the most obvious difference is the amount of money you make annually, but I'm going to share with you some things that make getting paid less than dirt worth all the effort I put into my profession each day.

This school year marks my 6th year as a teacher. I have survived the 5 year curse. I didn't decide teaching was for suckers and run back to Corporate America. So, I feel like I have a lot to say about some stuff. I'm a survivor! I will be teaching until I'm extra old and wrinkly, probably...

So, let's take a trip down memory lane. This path to enlightenment actually begins before my 1st gig as a kindergarten teacher. This story starts with my final year of undergraduate degree through Emporia State University. The student teaching portion of my degree.

It was a busy year. Classes, student teaching, family time, papers, Madeline Hunter lesson plans! It was all mashed up. I was constantly on the verge of cracking up! I carpooled with two other girls, one whom I absolutely adored and another who was just along because the gas would be split three ways. I have a great group of friends that I worked with everyday. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I'd do it all over again.

I have kind of blocked some parts of my last year from my memory, though. I had a lot of challenges to overcome. Oh, they weren't anything life threatening, but very eye opening, none-the-less. One situation in particular...

My student teaching year consisted of me playing count the black people every day because I was in a predominately white program. Actually, I was the only black person going through the program. I ocassionally saw other black people when I visited other schools, but they were few and far between. No, this isn't going to be all about race, but this was a very significant experience for me.

I come from Wyandotte County in Kansas City; some visualize it as the town of cut-throats and thieves. Having been born and raised in the "Dotte," I have nothing but love for the place. It is a spot on the map that has gotten a bad rep for one reason or another and can't seem to shake it off, although we're trying!

I was student teaching in Johnson County, in the city of Olathe. The perception of Olathe is the complete opposite of the "Dotte." All sparkly and shining; a part of the Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road.

There were some members of my cohort class that took to making fun of the rest of us. They just happened to make fun of me because I was from Wyandotte County AND I was the token black chick. I was labeled the "ghetto girl."

Generally, I would just laugh something like that off because it would be said in jest and it would be said in front of me, not behind my back. Well, these chicks took to making fun of me behind my back and I happened to hear about it. I took my complaints to the heads of the program. I voiced my concern about the comments being made about me and some of the other people in the program.

It all boiled down to the girls getting a slap on the wrist instead of getting kicked out of the program and me thinking how ridiculous it was for these girls to even get the opportunity to graduate and teach children. This situation took place before winter break of 2005 and left me a little skeptical of all the people in my program, my professors, and the teachers that work in the school where I was interning.

It left me with a very bad taste in my mouth and in shock because that was one of a handful of situations that involved racism for me (in my lifetime). It let me know that racism was alive and slithering around. It made me more determined to be the best educator I could be. I was, and still am, determined to provide a well rounded academic experience to all my children.

Having learned that lesson, I pushed on. I considered my student teaching year part of the trials and tribulations that celebrities go through to get discovered. I was armed with best practices for teaching, a clearer understanding of diversity and my blackness.

Yeah, I said my blackness.  Even though, those mean girls were having a chuckle at my race, school districts all over were looking for minorities, ethnicity and gender wise. I didn't come equipped with sperm, so that leaves me with my blackness. In the world of celebrity, I had the golden ticket. I was well on my way to being discovered and blowing up!

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