My last pre-internship day of 2014 came to a close. I sit here looking back on the tumultuous journey of my first 8 sessions as a teacher. It has been an interesting start to what I hope to be a life long adventure, but an amazing experience that will never be forgotten.
My journey started out a little rocky, for the most part, but part way through I found myself and yesterday everything culminated in a grand crescendo of education. It is a little bittersweet leaving the students after such a great time, but I feel rejuvenated in my decision to become a teacher and look forward to our time in March.
So what made yesterday so amazing? Yesterday was the day where I truly found peace with my teacher self. I had made a very confident deal with my cooperating teacher that I wanted to get a taste of what an entire day of teaching felt like. To sum it up in one word: exhausting. Teachers pour so much of themselves into their days that it is extremely tiring, but in the end it is worth every second. Yesterday I was able to see how much these students cared for me as a growing educator and how much they want to see me succeed. I saw that my teaching style and strategies can exist in today’s classroom, albeit somewhat modified. It was a final moment of self discovery and in it I’ve found peace.
To start the day I decided that I needed to create a game-based scenario for one last shot at seeing if I could pull off being a game and project based educator. I took the students into the gym and we proceeded to create ecosystems out of gym mats, nets, whatever was in the gym supply room. How did it go you ask? AMAZING! It was hands-down the best lesson I’ve ever been a part of. The students were so engaged and so full of wonder and creativity it was a sight to behold. As part of the lesson I made an impromptu attempt at pulling in some Treaty Education. Once again I was shocked at not only the student response, but my own response as well. I’ve been very hesitant to bring up Treaty Education, I didn’t think I knew how. Apparently I do know how and we came up with one word that the students will hopefully always carry with them: Harmony. We talked about the tough issues surrounding race and sex and we all reached the conclusion that collaboration and working in harmony with one another is the greatest step we can take to finding peace. My soul was lifted and I could see every student in the room deep in thought about what harmony meant to them and how they could incorporate harmony in their lives.
The rest of the day was not as great, but as I’ve found out it is in those moments we learn the most. My cooperating teacher and I found that when I’m put on the spot, we had extra visitors during Math that completely changed the lesson, I default to direct instruction. Oh, direct instruction, my arch-nemesis. But because of that lesson, which to be honest was fun and not terrible at all, I have found out how to adjust on the fly and not lean towards lecturing. In ELA we played Mad Libs and the students loved it! It was something different. Not every student had enjoyed a Mad Lib so it was hilarious to see what they had come up with. These lessons weren’t mind blowing, but they were OK and I’m so happy that at this time I’ve grown so much that OK is just fine by me. OK lessons mean I still have things to learn, but I ask myself “Did the students learn? Did I learn? How can I make adjustments to make this better?” If there are answers to those questions then I mark it down in the “Win” column now instead of the “Loss” column.
For the grande finale to an amazing day I was able to enjoy a Grade 1/2 classroom. I worked with a small group of amazingly bright and adorable youngsters. It was such a treat to work with them and see how amazing students are even at such a young age. I never thought I could teach to people that young, but I can say, with a huge smile on my face, that I loved it! And the coup de grace to this finale was a massive group hug from students I had only spent a total of an hour and half with. I will say this, if you ever need to smile or feel loved just go to a grade 1/2 class. After the chaos settles you will never find a more genuine feeling of being loved and appreciated.
I find it very interesting that I’ve answered just about every single question I’ve posed to myself and my potential readers. Can I go UP? Should we Wreck-It? How do we find our Groove? All of them, every question I’ve found solace in. I cannot wait to see what questions I have in store for my three week experience in March.
I can honestly say I’ve found peace in the fact that I love to teach. I have had many different jobs before pursuing teaching and after yesterday I was both tired and energized. I’ve never felt so alive when reflecting upon the great day I had in the classroom. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey so far. My professors, my cooperating teacher, my classmates, but most importantly my students. Thank you! I would not be the teacher I am today and the teacher I want to be tomorrow without all of you. I hope we can all find peace, not only in ourselves, but everywhere. Peace is generated from within. If we take the time over the holiday season to look within I know we can find peace.
Thank you so much once again to Dreamatico for the image. Your pictures are so inspiring and hopefully I’ve helped others find your site: http://dreamatico.com/magic/7/