Surviving the Classroom and Other Concerns

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I have been in classrooms for as long as I could remember. My mom was a middle school English teacher, so naturally some of my earliest memories were sitting at her desk and “grading” papers, writing “lessons” on her chalkboard to an empty classroom, but in my mind was full of prospective learners. I have always found comfort in a classroom, as if it were a second home to me. It just felt natural.

Flash Forward to the present. I am standing knees deep in 2-6 year old children, running around the classroom – crying, fighting and shouting for my attention. What I have learned since observing at the Learning Center is that being in a small classroom is like going to combat – you need to be ready for anything, because you can be flanked from the side, behind and occasionally have an aerial attack (that’s right – they may be small but these children love to jump on top of you). That was when I made my first executive decision as an educator – I’m officially teaching high school.

Besides becoming a High School English Teacher, that is the only decision I am sure of. Working in the classroom, and observing these teachers (whose credentials are suspect at best) brings up many concerns for me and what I how I will be as an educator:

  1. Can I do this?
  2. What if they don’t like me?
  3. What if I forever screw my students up?
  4. What if I am not good enough?

I know, these children are small – I want to teach high school but the same concerns still apply.

And just when I least expected it – I got some answers (well some alleviated stress) for my concerns. I went to visit my high school, maybe to convince myself out of the one decision I made or maybe to get a better sense of what I am getting myself into, and stumbled upon my English teacher Mrs. Wild who is part of the reason I decided to go on this Journey. After speaking with her, I realized why I wanted to go into teaching in the first place – because I wanted to inspire students the way she inspired me.

Receiving this Facebook Message from her truly solidified that:

You’ll never understand how much I needed to see you today. Thanks for being one of those students who makes ME keep going! I’m so very proud of you, and happy that you are heading in the direction of education. You’ll be that one to make a difference in the lives of your students! Much love and many thanks!

This reader, is why I want to teach. To make a difference, to inspire creativity and thinking, and to help students realize something about themselves they may not know before.

I may not have all of the answers now (hey I’m still a student myself!) but I at least have the determination and concrete belief in what I want to do for the rest of my life.

So Thanks Mrs. Wild, for once again helping me realize something about myself and for giving me a little bit of sense on how to begin to survive a classroom.

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