Below you will find my random blabbering of My Story as a teacher thus far.
Mrs. Gragnani. This is a new name for me... and has yet to take form as "Teacher". My previous two years of teaching were as Ms. Robert. Ms. Robert was often called Ms. Roberts, but was I quick to correct that statement. Now I will have to deal with mispronunciations and weird spellings, but I am happy to be called "Mrs. G" and start yet another school year.
Teaching was always at the end of my sight. I knew I was going to be a teacher and I was going to love the crafts, projects, field trips, and of course the learning! I graduated from Missouri State University on December 17th, 2010. At this time I was fully aware that jobs in teaching were all who you know. I knew no one "particularly" close, so I tried keeping contacts with my cooperating teachers and sought out new ones. While nannying after I graduated I decided to look into other options. Applying straight to districts was not getting myself any closer to a teaching position.
I had heard of Teach For America while in Undergrad and decided to give it a very close look 5 days before the final deadline of the final application round for the 2011 Corp. (A former high school classmate of mine had posted about applying and thought "why not?") It was a lot to complete in 5 days, but while children nap a lot can be accomplished if you put your mind off Facebook and Twitter.
I fully thought I would never get a phone interview after my application... let alone then receive a final interview in the second week of March. The interview process of Teach For America is lengthy and intense. But the organization keeps with its routines and much of the process (and what they are looking for) can be found on the World Wide Web. I practiced, practiced, and practiced my sample lesson, my interview answers, and how I might respond in the group activity. After my interview... I will be honest, I felt exuberant. I had nailed it and knew this was my chance to finally get a teaching position.
I was accepted in April and cried. I was beyond words and felt such a great pride within myself. THEN I saw the placement. I knew I would most likely be placed in St. Louis (my only choice), but I was nervous about being placed in an Elementary position; St. Louis did not place many Corp Members in Elementary and I was being accepted at the final deadline. My placement was St. Louis in Middle School Math. Excuse me.. Middle School Math. What even do you teach in Middle School Math? Uhh.
Well I went to Institute in Chicago with Teach For America and taught 9th Grade Algebra at Bogan High School.
While in Chicago a middle school in St. Louis hired me to teach 7th Grade Math. It was a good district and I was happy to have a job. Somewhere during that 1st year in all the excitement of having a job and finally being a teacher I realized Middle School Math was not for me. For a lot of reasons I did not fit in with Middle School and especially Math. I conveyed this message to Teach For America and for my 2nd year in the Corp I was given an Elementary placement. This placement was in another district within St. Louis. (My first district does not offer transfers from building to building for teachers with less than 3 years)
7th grade classroom after a looong day
Finally I was teaching at an Elementary School and was placed in 2nd grade. This district is slightly a hot mess and let's say that this year was not all I had hoped it would be. I had a very challenging classroom with high need behavior problems from about 8 of my 21 students. I continued to challenge myself with reward systems of all kinds to keep a safe classroom. One student became homebound at the end of February... I stopped feeling supported by my teammate and school administration... I decided I needed to find a new job for the next school year.
My 2nd grade classroom during Halloween Math
2nd grade Classroom Library
My commitment with Teach For America was over, I was done with my 2nd year of teaching at a 2nd school and district, and I was getting married! June 2013 was seeming to be a great month and it turned into so much more. I was blessed with two job offers and finally accepted my new position teaching Kindergarten!
After a long journey of
2 districts 3 districts and 2 grades 3 grades... Mrs. Gragnani is ready to start a teaching position that turns into a career or at least for longer than 1 year! Ready to share this journey with you.