July 21, 2016

My Teaching Journey

Hi there! I thought I would do a different kind of post today. It’s the story of my journey to becoming a teacher. I think it’s pretty interesting, because I didn’t always want to be a teacher… but we’ll get into that. :)

I have always loved writing. My imagination has always run rampant, and I think that has a lot to do with it. I’m pretty introverted and communicate better in writing, and that has a lot to do with it, too. I also have always been an advanced reader, and I think that’s what has inspired me the most. (I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in first grade, if that gives you any idea of what I mean.)

But, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of writing. I love getting my thoughts down on paper, I enjoy making lists, and I prefer handwriting over typing. When I was in high school, I loved writing papers… and I was good at it! My high school English teacher, Mrs. Courtney, told me that I would be a wonderful writer someday. Luckily, I believed her!

When I got to college, I enrolled as an English major. At the time, I wanted to be a high-school English teacher. I love grammar and punctuation (and I hate when people don’t use them correctly), so I thought that I could teach them. My second semester of my freshman year, I had a field placement in a high-school classroom. My cooperating teacher (CT) was amazing, and she taught me so much! The kids, though… well, they were high schoolers who were expected to listen to and respect an “authority figure” who was exactly 1 year older (and about a foot shorter) than them. It didn’t work out very well. I hated it. I hated teaching them, I hated managing that classroom, and I dreaded going there every Thursday. 

By the second week, I had already decided to change my major, but I didn’t know what to change it to. When I went to my education classes, the Early Childhood Education (ECE) majors seemed to peppy and happy, which was just the opposite of how I felt, so I switched to an ECE major. I still wasn’t sure that it was what I wanted to do, but at least it wasn’t high school!

When I went back in the fall as an ECE major, I loved my classes. I still struggled with committing myself to that career for the rest of my life, but I knew that I was happy at the time and decided to stick with it. I went through school and learned more and more, though I still questioned myself because I didn’t seem to to things as well as my classmates. My posters weren’t as bright, my writing wasn’t as bubbly, and my lessons didn’t seem as interesting. I also knew that some of them didn't like me all that much, which made everything a little harder. I kept at it, though, and learned from my mistakes and from my classmates' successes.

When it was time for student teaching, I was so thrilled! This was what I had been looking forward to! I was so excited to have total control over the classroom (for a few weeks, at least). I was fresh out of classes, I was full of spirit and ideas, and I couldn’t wait to jump in with both feet!

I was assigned to a first-grade classroom. The room was bright, the students were wonderful, and the girls I rode with were every day awesome. But… I wanted to quit.

My CT and I did not get along. In fact, I went home from school crying on most nights. She tore my lessons apart (literally, once) and marked me down on my observations for the silliest things. I was treated like just another student of hers. She gave me control of nothing and required that I run her classroom exactly as she would have. I had no independence or input. She crushed my spirit.

Luckily, as I was cruising Pinterest (which had just exploded in popularity) I came across the wonderful Cara Carroll and Abby Mullins. In their blogs, I saw what teaching was supposed to look like. I saw how fun and exciting and rewarding it could be, and it inspired me to finish out my last few months of student teaching. I was even able to sneak in a few fun activities that I found on their blogs!

After I was done student teaching, I had another semester of college to get through. Long story short- I added a minor in Children's Ministry for about a semester in the middle of my time at MVNU. I had to drop it because the schedule conflicted with my education classes, but I got to go to Disney World in one of my ministry classes and met my husband in another one of them, so I'm going to go ahead and say that it was a good mistake to make. :)

Immediately after graduating, I got a job at a Primrose School. That lasted a few months longer than it should have, and then I moved on to another daycare called Kiwi's Clubhouse. After just over a year there, I was finally hired at my current school, which I absolutely love. 

I guess that's it! That's my story. My journey to being a teacher has been rough and very bumpy at times, but I'm so glad that it led me where it did. I wouldn't change it at all!

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