Dear Readers,

Once upon a time I was (or thought I was) anonymous. Now, that’s all been blown out of the water because people keep finding me on Facebook. I think it may have been the posts about the Black Book Expo! No matter how I was discovered, I’ve been discovered. So I will tell you who I am. My name is Carole Leila Banks. I teach at a high performing charter school in Los Angeles, CA. I am currently on sabbatical from teaching and am unsure if I will return.

I was a Special Education Assistant for 5.5 year & this is my 10th 12th year of teaching. So, altogether, I have 15.5 17.5 years of experience in Education. 

Right now, I’m very disillusioned and am thinking about quitting teaching. If I could go back and give my younger self advice, it would be to not even begin a career in teaching. I’ve had some good years in teaching, but most of my teaching experience has been hell. 

Update: I’ve had time to reflect and am getting my mojo back. When I wrote this up above, I didn’t think I’d ever love teaching again. I was wrong. Thank God for second chances!

I feel like becoming a teacher was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I really don’t mean to come off as bitter, but that’s how I feel. This has been my experience. Lately I’ve been thinking about going back to school to get my Ed.D so I can do research. I’d love to work at a Lab school where I could put my theories into practice. I’m still deciding. Of course, I’ll let you know and I’ll blog all about it.

Hey everybody!!! It’s been quite a crazy ride these past two three four five six  seven eight nine ten years. I’ve been through so much and you, my dear readers, have been there through the whole journey. I cannot believe how much I’ve grown and matured as a teacher and a person. It’s been a bumpy ride. I wouldn’t give it up for the world though. I learned so much. Here’s to many more successful years.

It’s just me-the aspiring wannabe-gonnabe best special education teacher in the world. I started this blog in May 2007 to chronicle my first year of teaching. As I update this, it is now October 2008 July ’09 May December ’10  sometime in the near future September ’12 March 2013 July 2014. January ’18 April ’19. I have my first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eight ninth tenth eleventh year under my belt and am happy about it. Now that my first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth eleventh year is water under the bridge, I will be chronicling my first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth twelfth year of teaching while completing my Education Specialist Teaching credential/Special Education Master’s program.

Update: I finished my teaching credential/M.A. program.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a married mother of four children ages 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17  to 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29. I graduated in 2007 from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Human Development (it’s like child development + education). In November ’07, I will start my started my first year of teaching, and I will start a combined teaching credential/Masters program. I should have  finished, but I have one 3 1 more class left. It’s actually a class three classes I took before, but did not complete. Long story short, it the classes turned into “W’s”. Now, instead of finishing in May ’09, I will finish in December ’10 I don’t know when December ’12. But, as long as I graduate, that’s all that matters.

Update: YAY! I finished. I will walk walked in the May 2013 ceremony.

What was the problem? The problem was that I tried to be Superwoman. I did not manage my time right. I did not take “ME” time like I do now. There was no balance in my life. Everything was all about work. School only half-heartedly fit into the picture. Hence the four incompletes I need to clear in the next 3 weeks three incompletes that turned into “W’s” that I now need to re-take in Fall in order not to be in danger of academic disqualification. I did not take heed to my body’s warning. I very nearly had a nervous breakdown. If you are reading this and you are beginning a program while working full-time, listen to your body and take some “ME” time or your body will not like you very much. Especially when it gets sick time and time again.

(2007-2009) I teach taught at a low-income, high crime, Title I school in Los Angeles. It‘s was a tough situation, but not impossible. I had great success last these past couple years with my students, in regard to their test scores rising and holding the bar high. I didn’t know kinda’ figured out what I was doing last year, but I had and had high expectations. It made a big difference. Once the students knew I cared about them and expected the best, I didn’t really have to fight with them to work. Once someone knows that you care about them, that’s the beginning of any beautiful friendship or relationship.

I am going to have my hands full, but you know what, I can handle it. I had my hands full last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that. In fact, I almost went crazy, but I handled it wtith the help of my support system. I am now the Inclusion Specialist @ at private school. I have to say that the population is quite different. The atmosphere is one of peace & cooperation. There were 2 fights in the whole school last year as opposed to 2 fights before Recess everyday at my old job. I now work at a Non Public School (NPS) with Emotionally Disturbed (ED) children. It’s a tough job (understatement) but I like it.

Update: Working with ED students is not the job for me!!! That’s all I have to say about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(2013-2014) Update: I resigned from the job working with ED students. It was overwhelming. My hair fell out, I gained weight and I was in fear for my life on a daily basis. I tried to see the good in the situation, but that simply was not enough to continue my employment there. I’ve worked there and now I know that I would NEVER do it again. EVER!!! That was not the job for me!

(2015-2016) I am now working at a high performing charter school. I teach 9th/10th grade Resource Lab. It’s a lot that required of me, but I am adapting and thriving. I will keep you updated. But, for now, I am happy!

(2015-2016) Update: This year, I took on most of the teaching on my campus. I now have 9th-12th grades. Of the 51 SpEd students, I have 44 of those students. It’s a ridiculous amount of work, but I’m handling it way better than I thought I would.

Update: Last year was very stressful. I discovered that maybe teaching is not the job for me. 

Update: (2017-2018) This year I am still at the same school, a high performing charter school. I’ll see how this school year goes. 

Update: (2018-2019) This year, I began working at a local high school. I did not like it. I thought that a change of schools would make me like teaching again. It did not. So, I quit in the middle of the school year. It was actually quite ugly. I tried to quit but was threatened with revocation of my credential. So, I worked on trying to get fired. I missed about 5 days in a 2 month period. I went directly to H.R. and was told that my credential would not be revoked if I stayed until a suitable replacement was found. I ended up on jury duty for about a month. The school district still would not let me go. So, I took a leave of absence. The school district paid me for the leave of absence. I honestly don’t even want the money. I just want to be let go. So, that’s where I am. I’ll keep you updated.

I’ve been steadily making headway. Just in case I thought it was a fluke that I had great success @ my last school, I now know that it wasn’t. I had great success @ this school also. I’ll see just how great when the test scores come back **.

**Update- The scores were fantastic. The test scores are interpreted slightly different in a private school, but the test scores were still amazing. One student made three years progress in one year. Two of my students who came in reading 2 wpm in 4th grade, left reading 41 wpm orally (they plateaued) & 56 wpm & 70 wpm mentally.  I pushed them incredibly hard.

(2010- 2013) I am, for the first time, teaching General Education, not Special Education. I did not think that I would like it. Now, I love it so much, I’m not sure  I want to return to Special Education.** Special Education is still my first love though. That’s why I am implementing a school-wide intervention system for my school. If you know anything about private schools, it’s that there are no Special Education services available. I figure I could at least use my specialized knowledge to help the struggling students.

**Update- What was I saying? I am going to get back to teaching Special Education as soon as I can.

I am a self-described oddball. I have an off-beat sense of humor. I love sci-fi. I am a sci-fi junkie. Babylon 5 was my favorite Star Trek show. My favorite show of all time was Stargate SG-1 until this last year’s the last year of crappy, filler shows. What is was that about? The last season of Stargate SG-1 reminds me of the last episode of Seinfeld; they were both crappy endings for what had been stellar shows.

Okay, I’m rambling. I tend to do that. I like to crochet and to sew, but my favorite all-time passions are reading and writing. When I was younger, I preferred reading to people. Heck, sometimes I still do!

I wanted to be a writer so badly when I was younger. This blog is an outlet for that desire. My writing style is odd like me. My posts are almost sometimes never not what you think they’re going to be about. Sometimes, while reading my posts, you might have to go back to the title to remind yourself about what you thought it was going to be about. Well, I’ve said enough about me. Bye!

Update- April ’19: I have become a published author. I am now a full-time writer. I will starting my publishing company in the next 90 days, so that I can self-publish my own books. My first book of poetry (The Ebb & Flow of Life: Stages of Walking in My Power) will be released May ’19. Right now, I’m working on my second book of poetry about anxiety & depression. As always, I’ll keep you updated!


  1. I followed your link back to your site. Thanks for including soupornuts in your blogroll. It’s nice to be appreciated. You are going to have your hands full this fall with both teaching and being taught, but putting ourselves into a position that requires the best and most from ourselves is what it takes to be our best and get the most out of our lives. It’s easy to be average if average is what you want, but it is also detestable if you know you are capable of more.
    Good luck and push on. I’ll keep tabs on your blog.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I need all I can get. I love your blog. I’ve been there a couple of times and concur wholeheartedly with what you say. It took me so long to get started in my chosen field because I didn’t want to do just any ole’ thing. Now that I’ve finally found what I want to do, I am going to give it my all. If I ever feel like I’m not giving it my all, I will quit and find something else to do. I will return to your blog.

  3. Okay, I changed it from weirdo to oddball. Don’t be giving him the evil eye girl. Sci-fi is so cool and so are the people who watch it.

  4. I’ve been looking for other special education teachers who write blogs – this will indeed be an awesome resource for young (and experienced) teachers!
    What exactly does your teaching position entail? What are you going for an advanced degree in?

    Thanks for the reflections.

  5. Leila,
    I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. I look forward to reading your blog now that I found it. I’m also a Spec Ed teacher- 25 years now and I still love it. Mind you sometimes I have to work at loving it ,but I do. Teaching Special Ed lets me be me. I think it will let you be you too once you get your sea legs. I remember those first years and wondered. 🙂

  6. I am so happy that we’ve found each other. I definitely believe that teaching special ed lets me be me. Although I have had many challenges already, I am still enjoying it. I really hope you find something you like when you read it.

    BTW, do you have a blog of your own? If not, why don’t you start one.

  7. Hey–if you would like to teach middle school English, history or math in Panama, let me know. My American international school is hiring, Crossroads Christian Academy. If you know anyone else who is a certified teacher looking to have an overseas career in a Christian environment, let me know! 🙂 BTW–I would like to invite you to check out my newest blogsite, Christian Teacher Forum, here at WordPress. It provides discussion topics, connection for Christian teachers, lesson plan ideas and interesting links. Take care!

  8. Amayala, I’m going to have to say thanks, but no thanks. I like it here in the U.S. Maybe in a couple of years when all of my children are out of the house.

  9. We would like to cordially invite you to “Within Our Reach: Closing the Opportunity Gap and Achieving the Dream,” conference. This conference is a one-day forum that will seek to address the social and holistic development of students of color through culturally, politically, and socially relevant presentations and workshops.
    The “Within Our Reach” conference was born out of a concern for the loss of Affirmative Action in the UC system that has resulted in a drastic decline of students of color at UCLA. While many researchers label this an achievement gap, we call it an opportunity gap, and by inviting students, parents and educators together to UCLA we hope to make strides as a community. We believe that by hosting this conference, a vital step is being made towards closing this gap and re-building a village that collectively seeks to claim the dream.
    This conference will consist of a series of workshops, presentations, and renowned speakers, such as Dr. Tyrone Howard of UCLA, Russlynn Ali the Founding Director of Education Trust-West and the Village Nation. Each of these speakers will be addressing academic, social, and cultural issues pertinent to students, parents, and educators. We realize the importance of the most critical educational stakeholders: students, parents, and educators. Therefore, we have designed a conference that will offer targeted presentations and workshops on this day to include all three. This is a unique conference that will outreach to our most deserving school communities. It is truly a first of its kind as we have worked to make this a free conference for students, parents, and educators thanks to our sponsors.
    The conference will be held on May 31st, 2008 at the University of California, Los Angeles. Registration begins at 8:30 AM in the Humanities Building. Please note that the conference is entirely free of charge. Continental breakfast and a full lunch will be provided. We look forward to your participation in this ground breaking event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the planning committee at (310) 686-0386 or via email: WithinOurReach@gmail.com.

    Within Our Reach Planning Committee

    “Within Our Reach: Closing the Opportunity Gap and Achieving the Dream”
    Information Line: 310.686.0386 Fax: 310.267.4446
    E-mail: WithinOurReach@gmail.com Web site: http://ctog2008.webs.com/

  10. Hey–if you would like to teach middle school English, history or math in Panama, let me know. My American international school is hiring, Crossroads Christian Academy. If you know anyone else who is a certified teacher looking to have an overseas career in a Christian environment, let me know! BTW–I would like to invite you to check out my newest blogsite, Christian Teacher Forum, here at WordPress. It provides discussion topics, connection for Christian teachers, lesson plan ideas and interesting links. Take care!

  11. Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

  12. Hello there! I thought I would come over and check out your blog, since you were kind enough to come and view mine and leave a comment. I guess you could say that I am in a similar field. I am a part time skills trainer working with autistic children. I’ve been doing this since Sept. 2009. I’m also a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother. I have a daughter who is 19, graduated and currently in the same line of work as I am. My son is 15 and has dreams of becoming a pilot and is constantly studying and researching about aviation. Well, I guess that’s it for now. Just wanted to say hello, and I wish you all the best in your educational endeavors.


    Carol Connell

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