Ali, Special Education Teacher, CO
Ali is a special education teacher in Denver, Colorado. She has previously worked as a Kindergarten and 1st Grade teacher as well. She has known she's wanted to be a teacher her entire life, and has been recognized as a "Distinguished" teacher in her district. She was interviewed by her friend and former teammate, Nicole.
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I’m thinking of my nephew Adrian. I would want him to be successful, but well-adjusted; so many kids these days… it's all very streamlined, thought of getting themselves to the top and taking out whoever they need to do get there. This cut-throat mentality is put down into schools instead of creating relationships that they need to build good lives. You're not grooming your child to think of anyone but themselves. I want him to have a lot of difference experiences to help shape who he is and not have that single line thought of moving forward. I want him to be open to whatever comes his way. Success looks different for every person, what success is for me is different for him. I think you have to be happy in what you're doing, to figure out what you want to do and pave a road for yourself where you're able to feel good about yourself in the work you're doing.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
No; a lot of people are very focused on accomplishments, but I feel like being happy and being together is an accomplishment. People are monetarily incentivized and that pushes them and pushes them to where they're not happy any more. There is definitely a familial precursor about what accomplishment and success is, and for me, it wasn't a question that I would do well in school and go to college. Choosing to become a teacher wasn't as glamorous as other things, but do I feel accomplished? Yes. But would other people feel that I'm as accomplished as them? Probably not.