I didn't set out to become a teacher. As a 9-year-old altar boy, I was determined to become a priest. At the age of 10, I discovered girls. Scratch that idea.
By the age of 12, I decided that I was going to be the next Perry Mason. Grades and reality set in. By this time, I was in the middle of my senior year of college. It would have been foolish to change my political science major at that point, so I completed my undergraduate degree.
Having completed college, I now had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. It took another decade to realize that some Supreme Being was directing me to becoming a teacher. So, after 11 years of drifting, I went back to school and earned my teaching credential at UC Riverside.
By now, I had decided that I would teach fifth grade until I died. Within a few short years, I realized something – girls were entering puberty in fourth grade. I did not want to deal with this situation -- ever. (Reread my previous column to see how that turned out.)
About this time, another teacher wanted to loop to first grade with her kindergarten students. She talked me into taking her kindergarten spot so she could do so. (You see how well I was being trained to deal with females; say OK and keep my mouth shut.)
So I became a kindergarten teacher. Well, technically, I became a teacher who was assigned to kindergarten. It took me a long time before I felt I could call myself a kindergarten teacher. The first month, I caught the stomach flu from one of my students. The experience taught me a valuable experience – keep a certain discreet distance from the little ones to maintain good physical health.
I slept some 10 hours a night until I learned to pace myself. Fortunately, I was single at the time. Didn't last very long, though.
My second year as a kindergarten teacher, I met Karen. Karen was a real kindergarten teacher while I was still very much a novice. I must explain that it was not because we were kindergarten teachers that I met the love of my life. Our district teachers’ unions were holding a combined training for building reps. This was Karen’s first experience as a rep; in fact, it was the first thing she ever did as a site rep. It was kismet.
Over the years, I have bounced back and forth between kindergarten and first grade. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up earning my doctorate in Early Childhood Education. I would never have imagined any of this when I was a kid or even in school the first time around.
If not for becoming a teacher, I would never have met Karen. I never would have become the father of four beautiful daughters (thank God they take after their mother in that respect). I likely would never have ended up in a place called Menifee. Strange how life turns out.
Randy Freeman and his family have lived in Menifee since 1993. Randy teaches kindergarten in Perris and his wife Karen teaches first grade here in Menifee at Freedom Crest Elementary School. They are the parents of four daughters: Daniela, 17, and 13-year-old triplets Sarah, Holly, and Megan. Randy earned his PhD in early childhood education in 2011 and has served on the Menifee Union School Board since 2008. As he explains it, this makes him Karen's boss for the first and only time in the marriage. His column will appear here every other Tuesday.