My Favorite Job! What was Yours?

Storyworth-My Best Job

When my children were young, I supplemented our income by teaching ESL through McHenry County College and Elgin Community College. When Aaron, my youngest, was 12 years old I accepted a job teaching English/Speech/Drama at Cary-Grove High School. I would say these were my favorite jobs because they challenged me to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

I was always fond of learning about other cultures and ESL was a way to travel vicariously. I had students from Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and Sweden to name a few. I often invited my student over to our house to meet my family, and to give them a healthy meal. At the end of the semester, we would have a Christmas party and each student would bring an ethnic dish and tell about their country’s traditions. I remember Julie coming with me to these parties. . She vividly remembers a Russian woman with an extreme amount of make-up.  Deborah was in school and Aaron was too young to come. My students demonstrated their appreciation with hand-made gifts like colorful doilies.  

When Aaron was 12 years old, I accepted a full-time teaching job.  The first two years were difficult having to learn the material and prepare lesson plans. But when I was working toward my Master’s degree, I felt more confident.  I   I loved teaching literature and often connected books like Animal Farm to history. We covered literature about the holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. But my favorite subject to teach was British Literature. We read Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Knights, King Author, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. I added Princess Bride and a few episodes of Mr. Bean for fun. My students did research and presentations in all my classes. I was teaching Beowulf at the time that 9/11 occurred. It then became a study of good vs evil. We went to see the movie Beowulf with Angela Jolie playing Grendel. Afterwards we went to the Village Squire to discuss the difference between the book and the movie. The students overall loved the class because unlike American Literature we were able to laugh especially reading Chaucer.

Teachings Speech Communication and Drama helped me to get to know my students better. My goal was to help them learn skills that would enable them to be better speakers and listeners. Teaching was very time consuming during the school year, but the summers were a great time to engage more with family and friends and to travel more. It was a job that stretched me and challenged me to grow intellectually and relationally. Although I am enjoying my retirement, I often think of my love for teaching and connecting with students and faculty. Face Book has help me keep my connections.

The highlight of my career was taking my students to perform Taming of the Shrew downstate. We also put on Sleeping Beauty with Mary Casta who was the voice of Sleeping Beauty in the film.