I decided in elementary school that I wanted to be a teacher and never changed my mind about that. I wanted to be a very different type of teacher though- elementary school art. This makes me laugh because now that sounds like a nightmare to me. No offense to anyone that does that, I just know for certain that it is not for me. I started college still on this track though.
I went to school an elementary ed/art major. During scheduling I actually had my college advisor tell me that I scored extremely well on my math placement exam and being an art/ed major I wouldn't have to worry about taking any math classes for awhile. HA! It took one art class fall semester for me to realize I did not want to do that. So spring semester I took general ed classes while I figured it out. Long story, but I ended up at math (obviously). At my college we had to double major in our subject area, which meant a significant amount of math classes. Since I was basically starting this from scratch sophomore year, I was behind on both my math and science requirements and was told I was probably going to have to go an extra year. I was determined to make sure that didn't happen though so it took a lot of work and many special approvals on my course loads, but I did it.
Now on the elementary ed part, I realized pretty quickly that wasn't for me either. I wasn't sure enough though to completely make the switch to secondary ed. I actually remember having a friend who was secondary ed tell me many times that I should make the switch and I always told him no way. Each field work placement though, I kept going older and older.
In the summertime I worked at a summer camp. After my freshman year I worked with first graders and thought they were just great. They were adorable and so cute. After my sophomore year, I got moved to the middle school section. I was NOT happy at all. I actually recall wanting to find a new summer job. Honestly I think I was intimidated because I had no experience with kids of this age, and let's be honest...middle school kids do not have a great reputation. Well I ended up loving it about a million times more than the second graders. I seriously fell in love with the age group.
So when I went back to school in the fall, I had a more clear idea of what I wanted to do. Middle school math for sure. This was a little tricky with my elementary ed major though, because while the elementary certification used to be K-8, it had recently changed to K-5. Awesome. No one was quite sure whether or not I would be able to get certified for middle school with the courses I had taken, but they did let me do the rest of my field work in middle schools.
I did my semester of student teaching in a 7th grade math classroom and had a phenomenal experience. I loved it and was sure that's where I wanted to be.
It turned out though that my elementary certification would not be enough to teach middle school, so I was going to have to take an additional Praxis test to get my middle school certification. The supervisor at the school I student taught at suggested that instead of getting my middle school certification, I take the next level test and get certified K-12. Since I had taken plenty of math classes (thanks to my college requirement to double major) I had all the necessary math credits. I am still very thankful for this suggestion, because I would not have had the idea to do this on my own. I knew that I never wanted to teach high school, but I did figure that it was better to be over certified.
Luckily for me, the school I student taught at was hiring and thus began my teaching career.