After graduating from NIU with a bachelors degree in Elementary (K-8) and Special (K-12) Education I applied for a job in Elgin Public Schools (U46) and was told to go elsewhere first for experience and then apply back to U46. So I just kept working at the restaurant instead.
My cousin knew someone who worked at a private school that needed a long-term substitute teacher, so I applied and was hired by Bartlett Learning Center in Bartlett, Illinois to substitute for a middle grade class of students with special needs for a few months while the teacher recovered from breast cancer surgery.
I don’t remember much of the teaching during those two months but I do vividly remember taking the bus to the train station, riding to Bartlett, then walking the short distance from the train station to the school. I’d pretend I was a Victorian era governess arriving at my employer’s residence each morning, mostly because the train station and nearby general store (where I’d buy a green river in the afternoons while I waited for my train) was that old.
I also remember learning how to write an IEP.
I remember it more clearly after Sr. Jane came back — I was kept on as her assistant, and eventually was given my own classroom.
Each year in the spring the school put on a musical to raise funds. They were a lot of fun and the kids really seemed to enjoy them. They were also very well-done.
The school was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, third order of St. Francis and for a while three of them were my best friends: Jane, Barbara and Margaret.
Here is a brochure that tells a little about the school. It is now called Clare Woods Academy and has moved to Woodstock, Illinois.