From 1999 to 2007, I taught sixth grade language arts. I have a degree in elementary education, and when I did my student teaching, I taught fourth grade. I really enjoyed fourth grade, and from that point on saw myself teaching an upper elementary grade level. After graduation, I interviewed at a few schools, but didn't have any luck finding a job. By mid July, I was feeling anxious about finding work, and just when I didn't think I was going to find anything, I was offered a job teaching sixth grade. I had never pictured myself teaching middle school. Middle Schoolers were awkward, obnoxious, hormone driven, pre teens, and I didn't think those were students I wanted to spend my days with.
But I was wrong.
I took that sixth grade teaching position thinking that I could do anything for one year. And after one year, I'd look for another job. What happened during that year, to my surprise, is that I fell in love with middle school. Yes, you heard me right. I fell in love with middle school. I decided that I actually liked those wide eyed, socially awkward, self conscious, sixth graders. I loved making them feel like they weren't lost somewhere between elementary and high school. That they were important. That they had opinions, dreams, and a lot of creative talent. And I loved focusing in on one subject, like English. Even if I taught the same lesson six times in one day. My eight years with those students were unpredictable, frustrating and yet also very rewarding.
So even though I never saw myself teaching middle school, sometimes the unexpected happens.
What are some unexpected things (or "happy mistakes") that have happened in your life?