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Running Head: autobiographical essay

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

TEACHING IS IN MY BLOOD
Denelle Cramer 4/20/2013 Professor: Carol Billing Education 201: Foundations of Education T,TH 1:00-2:15 Spring 2013

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Teaching Is In My Blood
I was born to be a teacher. Clich or not, I believe my parents passed down the teaching gene to me. My life circumstances led me in a different direction for quite a number of year s, but to quote the great Jack Nicholson in the movie The Shining, Im Back! All kidding aside though, I have a great desire to work with children. I know the impact that my wonderful experiences as a student has had on my own life, and I wish to help give that same thing to children in the future. Being a teacher is in my blood. Educational Background My name is Denelle Cramer. I was blessed to have been raised in a family full of educators. My paternal Grandfather and Grandmother were both teachers. My Grandmother was an elementary and middle school teacher, while my Grandfather was a high school teacher and coach, and then finished his career as a the principal of Boise High School. My father, mother, both of my brothers and two of my cousins are also in Education. In my case, the apple didnt fall far from the tree, as I have always wanted to be a teacher. I went to four different elementary schools as a child, without moving once. The boundaries changed four times while I was attending elementary school. I attended Jackson, Maple Grove, McKinley, and Amity Elementary Schools. I was mostly an A student, with an occasional B. In fourth grade, I had a Spelling teacher, Mrs. Quallio, who found innovative ways to make Spelling fun. Consequently, I won the city Spelling Bee that year. I had a crush on my fifth grade Math teacher, so as you might imagine, I learned to love Math. At South Jr. High School, I had similar experiences. Science started to become a struggle for me, and I never acquired a liking for it. That is until I began at Borah High School as a sophomore, and had the most amazing Chemistry instructor, Mr. Purdy. He was an eccentric, different type of man, but had an

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infectious love for teaching Chemistry. I flew through that class with an A. It required a lot of work, but he inspired me. I ended my High School career with college credits in Math, English and Accounting. After graduating with my diploma, I enrolled at Boise State University, where I earned twenty-eight credits toward my Elementary Education degree. Then it happened; I fell in love! Suddenly, it wasnt important that I finish my education. But I was wrong, so here I am again. Work History I went to work as a para-professional in the English Language Learner program at Capital High School. I worked there for two years before I enrolled at CWI. I had the opportunity to work in the ELL program with students from all over the world. Each of them had their own pasts, some of which were traumatic, but they all had such an appreciation for formal education. I had personally experienced no formal training in instructing these types of students, but still had great successes. It was then that I realized that if I were able to receive an education and a degree, coupled with my great desire to teach, that I may be on to something. I started working when I was sixteen years old at a Chinese food restaurant. I was excited because I was receiving a paycheck for the first time. I was feeling very independent. However, it was not without its trials. The owner of the establishment was Chinese, as one might guess, but he literally spoke no English. All of my instructions were given in Chinese, coupled with inaccurate sign language gestures and grunts of disgust when I misunderstood. We had a drive through there, and I remember not including a portion of the order accidentally, and being required to chase the car down on foot, down Overland Road during rush hour, to deliver the forgotten item. It was humiliating! I was wearing my lime green smock with my black polyester

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slacks, a hair net, and most certainly a look of sheer horror on my red face. It was then that I learned how not to treat others. My second job came when I was seventeen years old. I had just graduated from Borah High School and was enrolled at Boise State University. I had just moved out into an apartment with my friend, and retained a job at Park Center Health Club. I was working in the lounge/bar portion of the club. I remember telling people that I worked at a health club, and getting reactions that made me believe people were impressed with my accomplishments. Little did they know that I was not an aerobics instructor, nor a physical trainer. This job taught me that I wanted to be proud of what I did for a living, and that I did not want to have to embellish. I was going to college: I had big dreams of becoming a teacher. Then it happened; I met Prince Charming. I met a beautiful man, six years my senior, who swept me off of my feet. He was a doctor and had everything together. Suddenly, my goals and ambitions werent so important anymore. I could not see past the house in the hills, with a view, the white picket fence, two adorable children, and all the money I would ever need. This is when I started my third job; pretending to be happy. It paid very well, but I found myself, years later, regretting that I had so easily said goodbye to all of my dreams in order to build someone elses. When my marriage ended, I was not financially in a position to return to college. I applied for a job at the Boise School District, and was hired as a para-professional at Capital High School. I worked in the ELL program there, and found that old spark burning inside of me again. I had always known that I needed to be a teacher. I received so much reward out of helping the students achieve understanding. I worked there for two wonderful years, until I decided that I

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needed to get back to school myself. It was then that I decided to seek financial aid and I enrolled at CWI. Service and/or Extracurricular Activities I have always been involved in extra-curricular activities, starting from the age of eight, and still continuing to this day. These activities included basketball, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and an organization called Leadership Boise, when I was in school. Currently I am in charge of my churchs Outreach program. All of these activities helped and are still helping me with regard to my dream of being a teacher. When I was eight years old, and in the third grade, I moved to Boise from Illinois. There were no basketball teams for girls back then in the Dark Ages of the year1976. Consequently, I became a member of an all boy basketball team. Not only were there not any girls on my team, but there were not any girls in the entire league. I grew up with all brothers, and no sisters; there was not even a girl cousin to be found in my family. So, in other words, I was used to being around stinky boys, and this basketball team was not as much of a gender shock as it would have been for most girls. I learned a few skills, but scored not one basket the entire season. Oh wait, I take that back. The last minute, of the last game, my coach carried me on his shoulders to the basket, and I slammed dunked it into the eight foot high rim. Everyone from both teams cheered, and I remember feeling quite proud of myself. It was then that I learned to trust people, and that outside of my family, people were generally good. I continued to play sports throughout my education. I even went to college on a basketball scholarship. Being involved in sports taught me a lot of important things. I learned that nothing comes easy, and that there will be successes and failures along the way. It takes a lot of hard work to become skilled at something. Sports also taught me organization skills and how to commit to something. They taught me teamwork, and

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that no one person can take all of the credit. So much more can be accomplished by working together with others than could ever be accomplished alone. All of these disciplines that I learned will most definitely help me as an educator. Organizational skills, a hard work ethic, the ability to work as a member of a team, and faith in others, are all pivotal components of a good teacher. When I was a junior at Borah High School, my principal recommended me to be part of a program called Leadership Boise. This group visited state run organizations such as the Statehouse, court rooms, health and welfare, and the penitentiary, to name a few. I was able to see in action our lawmakers, our law enforcers, the help that our state provides to those in need and the people who faced consequences for actions that fell out of line with societys rules. One thing that I discovered is that I did want to be a part of the workings that hold a society together, but it would need to be in the form of a teacher, and none of the careers that I had observed. Currently, I am in charge of the community outreach at my church. We do things such as provide for the WCA (The womens and childrens alliance), for the Sanctuary (an organization comprised of many multi-denominational churches for the purpose of charity work), to the Marion Pritchett School, as well as providing relief during the holidays for families whose names have been given to us from area teachers with students in need. This work is extremely rewarding. Reasons for choosing Education as a Career Growing up, regardless of which grade we were attending, my bothers and I would come home and my mother would either already be home, or was in transit to arrive home. She would ask us to describe our day, and then promptly get us a snack and homework would begin. My mom was a teacher so her schedule was in line with us as her children. She would also tell us about her day in the classroom. My father was promoted to school administration from being a

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teacher when I was eight years old, so he was also an educator. This was the normal for my brothers and me. When I was eighteen years old, I began at Boise State University with the goal of getting a degree to teach high school English. I managed twenty four credits before losing track of my personal goals in order to support the goals of someone else; yes, a man. I took a job as a bartender/waitress to support us while he prepared to take his board exams. This went on for one year until he passed his boards and could open a practice. It was then that I began working for him in his office. I realized that I had a gift for dealing with the public. I received particular enjoyment, though, when I got to deal with children. In fact, growing up, I was always the one asking my mom if I could bring someone home for dinner, someone that I may have just met, and whom I had deemed underprivileged for whatever reason. I considered myself the keeper of the un-kept, one might say. In other words, I had a soft spot for people who were in need. Consequently, I came to the conclusion that teaching would fulfill all of my needs. I am very excited to graduate and become a teacher. I have worked at Capital High School and Frank Church High School for three summers now. I absolutely love working with the students. I expect that when I become a teacher, I will be rewarded with much gratification, in spite of the modest pay and hard work that is associated with teaching. I expect that I will have ample time to be with my own children, as my own mother did. Those things are very important to me. Professional Goals Goals are an interesting and somewhat allusive concept. I have spent considerable time in my life addressing someone else goals, all of which did not necessarily reflect the things in life that I personally felt were most important. With that said though, I have learned along the way

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how to organize and prioritize short term and long term goals, and also the importance the significance of doing so. I was working as a para-professional in the Boise School district for the past few years. I loved the work, but always felt that I had more to offer and wanted my own classroom. Also, the pay was barely enough to get by for my kids and me. I decided that it was my goal to finish my degree in Education. This was so important to me that I moved myself and my children in with my parents and resigned from my position with the schools, for the purpose of achieving this goal more expeditiously. My long term goals are what motivate me. I wish to earn an Elementary Education degree and ideally teach Middle School Math. I am also seeking a minor in Spanish. I have many long term goals but they all revolve around one thing; attaining personal independence. Throughout my life, I have not strayed from the notion that being a teacher was what I was born to do. Although there were a few setbacks along the way, I managed to return to making teaching, as a career, my top priority. Observing my family members educate children for many years, and simply being around educators all of my life, I believe that I have something to offer children in a teaching capacity. Working myself in schools as a para-professional, served to solidify my desire to teach. In just a few short years I will be standing in front of a classroom full of eager learners, and I anticipate feeling right at home there. Life is so good!