My Senior year of high school was spent working at a graphic design company designing police vehicle lettering and signs. I spent hours upon hours in the art room perfecting paintings and clay sculptures. This was what I truly thought my passion would be career wise for the rest of my working life. I went on to pursue a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic design, and obtained that degree all while working in the graphic design field. Over all those years my father always told me, “I really thought you would be a teacher, it’s what you’re meant for.” But, as children do, I never truly listened.
Eight years later I was still working as a graphic designer at a sign company, my work graced the inside of Met Life Stadium, Newark airport and even a small town in Louisiana. But, I was miserable. I couldn’t stand sitting in front of a computer all day, I was bored of it and was slowly realizing that my heart was not in it anymore. I received the opportunity to teach at Warren Community College for a Basic Design class and realized I loved teaching and maybe, just maybe, my father was on to something.
I began taking the classes needed to begin my career as an educator, and two years later took a paraprofessional job at a private school just to get my feet wet. The plan in my head was to be an art teacher, but as I found before that plan in your head isn’t always the one you are meant to take. The school I started at was Celebrate the Children, and ever so quickly my heart opened up to amazing children with incredible abilities and I started to realize this was where I was meant to teach.
This is now my second year as a teacher at Celebrate the Children, and each and every day my students amaze me and make me see things in wonderful ways. I might walk into my classroom and watch a student pull a chair over for a friend, or see a student’s eyes beam as they start to truly understand how to tie their shoes. And, when I watch my one student who rarely speaks touch the hand of another and say hi without any prompting it makes me realize I could have never expected this.
These children have made me see how wonderful it is to be a teacher, and that all the time and effort I put in to my job is worth every smile, tear and gleam in the eye. I should have always known that my father had always known best. Tiffany Martino, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.