Will My Past Affect My Goals?

I come across so many topics I intend to write about, and then time goes by and the topic just becomes belatedly awkward. But that’s ok. As some events come and go, others will come right along. That’s how life works. Sometimes opportunities come and go, but new ones will always come along.

So, right now I am gearing up for school. Yup, that’s right- I’m going back to college!! My registration date has been posted. On July 28th at 2:30pm I’m going to be online, securing my spots in the classrooms of Grossmont College (or most likely putting my name on some waitlists, but I’m trying to be optimistic here). In a matter of two semesters (and maybe one course over the next summer since apparently “Physical Science” is a requirement here) I should be finishing my associates degree in general studies and have the necessary 12 units of child development courses to allow me to work in preschools. But that’s not exactly my end game.

My hope from there, is to attend school and training to become a Montessori School teacher for infants/young children (I haven’t decided which yet, maybe both). I had never heard of Montessori until my mother-in-law to be had mentioned it early on in mine and Vince’s relationship. She had just mentioned that he had attended Montessori school and from there I decided to google it. The wikipedia article describing the Montessori method of teaching struck my interest. Mixed-age classrooms?? Student choice of activity?? Freedom of movement within the classroom?? Why, what anarchy is this??  But as I talked to friends who have had their children enrolled in Montessori schools, and read more and more about it, I fell in love with the idea. I mean, I’ve come to realize and believe, although my son has barely just turned a year old, that children aren’t exactly meant to ALL sit in one place, at the same time, for a long time, being expected to pay attention. Children are the purest of free spirits and Montessori embraces this. There are still specific things to be taught and learned, but the child gets to decide their own order in which to do these things. Whatever subject strikes their interest and attention in the morning, THAT’S what they get to focus on first! Sounds a lot more effective to me…

I still don’t know as much as I’d like to, but today my aunt connected me with somebody whom I can hopefully sit down with one of these days and talk to. I’d like to learn more from her about how Montessori works and her experience with it, but I also have many questions pertaining whether this educational community will embrace me or not. I have questions about my criminal history. Will someone look at my livescan, see that I am a registered narcotics offender, and throw my application into the shredder? Or will I be given the chance to explain? I’ve been arrested twice. The first time, I collected 2 charges: petty theft and possession of a controlled substance (a small amount of meth). The second arrest was another possession charge which occurred while I had been released from jail on my “own recognizance” which tacked “crime-bail-crime” onto my record, though my public defender convinced the judge to have that detail stricken. I was told to complete at least a year of drug treatment with a minimum of 90 days of that time being in residential treatment. I was also given 3 years of probation and had to register in my county of residence as a narcotics offender. I spent 7 months in residential treatment and over a year in outpatient with a couple of months overlapping where I actually attended both. I dutifully reported to my probation officer monthly, and soon after finishing treatment, was granted informal probation. My probation term will be complete in the end of this upcoming January at which point I may be eligible to have all 3 of my convictions dismissed. But the narcotics offenders registry will hold my name and pertinent information for 5 years after the completion of my probation. I’m positive this will appear in the fingerprinting required to obtain any kind of volunteer work, internship, or job in a school. These are the consequences of my actions and I can only pray that I will be given the chance to explain what happened and what advances I have made in my life since. I have remained sober for over two years. I am living in a home with an address that I have had for over a year. I am raising a very happy and healthy boy. And I have remained out of trouble since the last time I was in the courtroom. I’ve returned (and by then) completed school, and will be fully qualified. But will that be enough? Or will my prospective future employers see nothing but a drug addict with a criminal record who must think she’s crazy for believing she will be allowed to be responsible for other peoples’ children on a daily basis? I hope this friend of my aunt’s will be able to shed some light on what I can expect.

The last thing I’m wanting to talk to her about, is my appearance. I am a small woman with 11 tattoos. My arms are tattooed, my foot, ankle, the front of my shoulder… I understand that this may be off-putting to parents. I mean… I have a tattoo of a stick figure skater couple on my ankle…NOT my finest moment in decision making. Last night, I considered blogging but instead found myself online searching companies that specialize in conservative clothing. I have a hard time picturing myself in a little business suit… Actually, the idea is kind of laughable. But I was looking for mature styles that I could see myself wearing that would have neckline high enough to cover the tattoo on my shoulder, and sleeves that would go to my wrists. There was plenty that I found that I could ACTUALLY see myself wearing. But I live in San Diego! What about the days when the temperature climbs over 100 degrees? I would be miserable seeing as my preferred wear on any given day is a tank top. I live in tank tops. So I started looking into tattoo concealing tricks and makeup. If this is a career that I really decide to pursue, and if I am passionate about it, I will go to any length to present myself however I need to do so. Covering up my tattoos would be a little extra effort, but totally worth it to wear a blouse or appropriate dress if I really love my job. And in fact, when I start making money, I may actually invest it in having a few of my tattoos removed.

Anyway, what it comes down to is that teaching was one of the first things I ever thought I wanted to do. The idea has come back to me here and there in different forms but ever since I was pregnant with Deklen, I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t get enough information about babies and young children and the way they develop and learn. I am so excited to be going back to school to finish my associates degree. I couldn’t believe how truly close I have been all this time. All I need to complete is math, a biological science with lab, and basically P.E. And I realized that I want to study children: hopefully toddlers and babies. I want to work with them. I have a dream- a REALISTIC dream. And I want to pursue it. I hope that my passion might outweigh my past. I have to earn the trust of employers and parents (the parents never need to know my past but with the background check for work, the employer’s knowledge will be inevitable). I’ve worked hard to dig myself out of the hole I created in my past. Hopefully my effort and passion will be seen. Hopefully it will be enough.

I just have to remember to take things one at a time and not to get ahead of myself. It’s a trap I have been know to set in my own self sabotage. I know myself now better than I ever have. I believe I am capable and deserving of my dreams, and I won’t let myself get in my own way. Not this time.

I’m going to miss Deklen though as he goes to day care. It will be a break- of sorts from his wild toddler antics, but while I won’t be busy chasing him down all day and making sure he doesn’t eat hidden cat puke (it’s happened twice now), I will be doing so much more work. Work that as an end result will enrich his life. Not only will I gain knowledge and skills that I just lack as a single parent, but I may be able to work in his school when that time comes, and I will be financially contributing to our family. I will no longer have to rely 100% on Vince for any of my immediate wants and needs or my parents who have put me through rehab, given me a car, bought so many of the things we needed when the baby got here, and still pay my phone bill and car insurance at the age of 23. In fact, there is a small issue with my financial aid for school, and I will probably not be receiving it in time for the beginning of the semester, and they will be helping me with that too. I will have a sense of self reliance and independence that I have never had.

I look forward to talking to my aunt’s friend and getting a better idea of what I’m hoping to do and what to expect. But most importantly I look forward to my future. Something that once upon a time was a feeling I couldn’t even imagine.

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