After a long path I am finally exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. I teach AP Physics 1, AP Physics C and Physics in a high school with a gifted and talented program. I never imagined that place would be here in Rockford, but things don’t go according to my plan, they go according to His and He knows much better than I do what I need.

While I was still a college student I had applied to work at a church summer camp. I was not selected for the camp and I was devastated. I visited my old high school and my AP Physics teacher filled me in about positions with Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development for their summer gifted program. I applied, was accepted, and worked the program for the next seven years, eventually developing and teaching courses for them.

I started my regular career at a highly diverse school teaching the very lowest level students. Some of them were only 2 years younger than I was! After two years I was let go. I then obtained what I thought was nearly the dream job: working at my old high school. I had been one of the finalists for the actual physics teacher position, but I was not selected. Instead, I was selected to work in the tutoring center.

My AP Physics teacher forwarded me an opportunity: the night school needed a math teacher. Prior to my first job I would have never considered it, but thanks to that experience I had to jump on it.

I wasn’t offered the job.

But they called me later and said they needed an extra section of math and that I would teach it. That extra section was literally two students. That course expanded over the two years I was there.

In 2013 my husband was ordained to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church and we were assigned to Rockford, IL. We picked up and moved in October and I said goodbye to all of my dreams and goals I had once made for my career.

Or so I thought.

Eventually, I found myself doing everything I had hoped for. A full schedule of physics, AP courses, and gifted students.

Now, I realize I need to get myself reconnected with the larger physics community. We are only at our best when we are continuously learning from one another, growing and developing our skill.

-Marianna Ruggerio