I worked at Marine World/Africa USA in Redwood City and one of the programs I was involved in was the School Assembly Program. We would bring cheetahs, tiger cubs, opossums, snakes, and other exotic animals to schools as ambassadors, teaching students about wildlife conservation and the importance of these magnificent creatures. However, reality hit one day when Marine World/Africa USA was changing locations-- I needed a career that would sustain me into my retirement. And truth was, working as a middle school educator did not mean giving up working with wild and exotic animals; just middle school students are a bit more wild and slightly different type of exotic!
When I announced I was getting my teaching credential, my family could not be more thrilled. It was seen as an honorable profession and one that was respected. Even to this day, when I tell people I am a teacher, there is a level of admiration (some sympathy as well, but definitely admiration). Think about it-- what I do has a direct impact on the future of thousands. To quote Christa McAuliffe-- I touch the future. I teach.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to work on the CTA Teacher Evaluation Workgroup. Our first charge was to develop a document about teacher evaluations and how to make the evaluation process more meaningful. Next we worked on developing a foundation for professional development and teacher education programs. I worked directly with now CTA President, Eric Heins who headed this workgroup. To this day, this is one of my proudest contributions to the world of education. I recently came across this YouTube where CTA President Eric Heins talks about the teaching profession and our need to take back our profession: