California Educator

April/May 2023

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Page 19 of 61

nce I started going back to school and the pieces fell together, it felt li ke thi s i s w h ere I 'm supp o sed to be," says special education teacher Wendy Matteson, a Temecula Valley Edu- cators Association member. "Like this is my purpose." The journey to being an educator is often not a direct course, with many landing on campuses later in life, after other successful careers. ese educators are vital to our public schools, bringing their varied experiences and fresh passion to classrooms at a time when they are needed so — the nationwide educator shortage exacerbated by pandemic-re- lated retirements and increasing numbers of teachers who leave for less stressful and better paying careers. CTA President E. Toby Boyd is one of these educators, having first worked in the financial industry before finding the way to his calling as a kindergarten teacher. "I wanted to be a child psychologist, but I took a few detours in life and ended up in banking," says Boyd, who decided to leave finance to spend more time with his newborn daughter. "And I thought, 'I want to work with children.'" Just like President Boyd , educators throughout CTA and across the coun- t r y h a v e l e f t c a r e e r s i n t h e p r i v a t e sector and other jobs to join the dedi- cated ranks in public schools, each with their own interesting path to the craft. In celebration of all educators who do whatever it takes to reach and teach stu- dents every day, here are eight of those members and their stories. Finding Their Calling Making mid-career changes into education to be the difference for students By Julian Peeples O 18 Feature

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