I moved from Los Angeles to Charleston, South Carolina for 3 reasons:
- To be closer to my parents and sister
- To live in my favorite city (rah-rah Chucktown!)
- To become a teacher
The last reason has morphed from a reason to move into a reason to exist. While I’m working towards my Master’s and studying for state exams, I work as a counselor for an after school program. I’m responsible for first grade and absolutely never have a “normal” day. But who needs normal when you’ve got happy?
Here’s why working with kids is a recipe for a happy life:
- They really do say the darndest things. For instance, “Ms. Katelyn, you better find yourself a husband so you can save some money and get comfortable!”
- Or, after asking a child not to roll their eyes at me please, she replied, “I’m sorry, I did not even know I could do that.”
- The impact you have can be as big as you want it to be. My hopes for humanity are manifested in my interactions at school. When the boys start calling each other girls like it’s an insult, we talk about equality and respect and admiration for women. When the kids are misbehaving in the hallway, we talk about our responsibility for the safety of others. You might think that these topics go over their heads but they don’t. They understand these lessons and even remind one another from time to time.
- You never really realize how little you know until you work with kids because believe me, they’ll ask you questions that you have no idea how to answer. And that’s good for you. Why? Because it’s humbling. And it’s good for them too because they should know that we’re all learning all of the time.
- There are simple joys that you forget about when you aren’t around children. Like how exciting fruit snacks are or how fun paper plates can be if you have the right craft supplies.
- You have the opportunity to be a positive force. Everyday I have the opportunity to sit with the child who “hates reading” and cheer them on while we read a book together. With the child who comes from a tough neighborhood, I have the opportunity to encourage him to tuck in his shirt and make strong choices so he may become a leader. I have the opportunity to listen to the child who is crying out for attention because he doesn’t get it elsewhere. And I can’t be everything to every child, everyday. But those opportunities are there for me and I tackle as many as I can in a day.
There are plenty of different recipes for a happy life but working with kids is mine and if you’re looking for a way to make a difference, it’s the most rewarding job I could ever imagine.