I went to a huge teachers job fair today in Texas at the college I graduated from (where I got an undergrad in Education with a focus in Psychology and I'm now working towards getting an alternative teaching certification for EC-6). I'm hoping to teach kindergarten. We had a lot of different districts from all over the state and I talked to most of the district representatives, but I kept getting demoralizing responses. Most of the reps asked me about my classroom management style and what inspired me to be a teacher. My response was usually something like this: "As someone who grew up in foster care, I know how much of a difference one teacher can make in your life. Because of the instability in my life, I was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD when I was 4 years old. While other adults just labeled me a "bad" child, my kindergarten teacher saw me as a child that needed support, stability, and coping/communication skills. I ended up in her class for two years, which was the biggest blessing in my life because I learned resilience, empathy, and a love of learning that pushed me to grow no matter what else happened in my life. All it takes is one teacher to make a difference and I want to be that teacher like Mrs. Bullington was for me...As for classroom management, I follow the Conscious Discipline method, which is heavily based in child psychology. I come from a place of recognizing that children need to be taught skills and that, when they are in an unstable environment, their survival state kicks in and an adult needs to teach them how to identify and express their emotions, while also creating a school family that helps them feel safe and connected." I listed ways I would achieve this: having a feeling/calm/conflict resolution center, where skills such as emotional regulation are taught. I talked about how I would focus on sparking a child's natural curiosity through engaging activities, encouraging children's individual strengths, providing a variety of teaching methods (kinesthetic, auditory, visual, etc). I would have classroom jobs and stations that allowed kids choices to encourage independence and a feeling of community. I mentioned that I thought it was important to involve parents in activities and work with them when kids are struggling. The responses were generally unenthusiastic, sometimes dismissive, and no one seemed at all interested in my ideas. I even had a couple of people just tell me bluntly that they don't run schools like that and I should just move on. They said that kindergarten is the new first grade and I need to be preparing the kids for testing. I feel so disappointed because I have worked so hard, coming from a background of abuse, to understand the best ways to communicate with, support, and teach children. I really feel called to make a difference in kids' lives. But it seems like no one is really interested in my style of teaching. Does the teaching profession still provide that opportunity? Or is it overrun by testing standards and bureaucracy? When I got to the job fair, I was full of excitement and passion, but I left feeling demoralized and like I don't belong in the teaching realm.