Saturday, August 24, 2013

First Year - Oak Harbor Junior High School; Resource Room Teacher

It wasn't what I really planned on teaching that first year, or probably ever. Junior high school aged students were very intimidating to me. I  had just finished doing a student teaching with elementary aged students with significant disabilities. And for three months prior to that, I had my "dream job" of working with preschool aged children with special needs. But this was 1974, and as graduating seniors in the education and/or special education field, we were being told, "You will get a job, but you have to be willing to move.

My Aunt and Uncle at a family reunion in the early 2000's.
And so when a special education resource room position was posted in Oak Harbor, I applied. Why Oak Harbor? I lived in Seattle. Well the answer is easy. My aunt and uncle, both long time teachers, lived and worked in Oak Harbor. In fact, these two people were the biggest influence to me choosing teaching as a profession. Over the years, when we would travel to visit, my uncle would let us help grade papers. We were thrilled to be using a red pencil to mark mistakes or make check marks! And using an answer key was really fun! But what I could really see with both my aunt and uncle was their love of teaching and that was something I wanted too.

Well needless to say, I got the job. My first "real" job! I couldn't believe I would be getting paid $8,000! That was an amazing amount of money to me! I had worked in the group homes for $1.60 an hour, so this was a big step up!

Faculty vs. freshman volley ball game.
That's me in the overalls!
I don't have a lot to say about that first year except that the boys I had in that group of students seemed fascinated by me. Here was a typical Friday afternoon conversation: "Miss Prato, do you want to go out with me this weekend?" Me, "No. Remember, I am your teacher." Student, "So? Do you want to go out anyway?" No matter how many times I said this, I still had these boys asking me out. Thinking about it now, I can see I wasn't that much older than they were! Most of them would be in their early 50's now!