August 19th, I stared a new journey in my educational career and life. One, I was no longer an undergraduate student ; now, I was a graduate student. It seemed like it was yesterday that I was a freshman at U of A. Two, I was no longer just a graduate student, but I was also a teacher. After four years of undergraduate preparation in several education classes, nothing could have prepared me for this experience. Honestly, becoming a teacher is just one of those things you have to learn to do while you’re doing it. There isn’t a correct answer on how to correct a student’s behavior, or a specific answer on how to teach students’ that learn on multiple levels ; all of this information comes with practice and experience.
After spending a week in in-service meetings and workshops, the big day finally came; my new students were arriving. That Thursday, I greeted close to a hundred new faces. I was so curious about each of those students, and I’m pretty sure they were just as curious about me. I spent those first two weeks of my internship learning each student’s name, their likes and dislikes, and what made them unique. I’m thankful that I had those two weeks to observe the behaviors of each class period. It’s just so funny and amazing how each class period is different; from personalities to work ethic, each of my class periods was very unique. With those two weeks, I gathered all of that information in order to help me figure out how I could reach my new and first group of middle school English students.
Together, my students and I grew as people and learners. My students learned the importance of critical thinking, annotating, and how to become super duper jazzy writers while I learned how to become an effective educator, from my mentor teacher and team, by teaching to the individual student and not the masses and understanding the importance of planning. Although I was only with them for four months, I witnessed their growth as people. Several of the students were becoming aware of what’s really important in life, and they were also maturing into great model citizens. I grew in knowledge by reading several articles and chapters for class assignments along with realizing and cherishing the importance of the small things in life; things such as health, having a loving family, and a support system that cares for me, that I usually take for granted. Hearing my students’ life stories and talking to them humbled me as a person. They made the quote “nothing here on earth is promised” have a deeper and more powerful meaning to me; I really thank them for that. Each day spent in the classroom was a good day even if their behavior was a little off the wall. (lol) So, you can only imagine how I felt as the time whined down.
The last week of my internship was probably the hardest week of my entire semester. Although I was ready to go home and celebrate the holidays with my family and friends, I wasn’t ready to leave my students. I’ve grown so attached to them, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine what it’s going to be like next semester without them. I made the most of each day during that last week; by Friday, I thought I was prepared. I made it through all of my regular class periods and all of the parties with Ms. Lowe without crying or showing too much sadness, but reality made its appearance around 2:30, and I finally got the feeling that I tried to avoid. Since we were on pep rally schedule, and there were other parties going on, what better way to spend my last few minutes than with the two students I connected with from the first day. To them, they were just helping me clean and getting out of IR, but for me, I was getting a chance to spend a few more minutes with two boys who caused me a lot of headaches, the two boys who made me laugh on a daily basis, and the two boys who made me realize my passion for teaching and educating America’s future.
The bell rang at 3:00 pm sharp, and I gave a bunch of hugs to several students. I cleaned my desk area in the back, took things to my car, had a heart-to-heart with my mentor teacher, and left Kirksey Middle School. My first internship experience was amazing. Words really can describe how great it was. I’m looking forward to another great semester in Fayetteville. I have a feeling my kids will be just as great, and my new mentor teacher will be just as helpful. I’ve written a lot, so I’ll leave you with a few pictures from my last day and week.
I’ll begin with the best picture:
My 1st period-8th Grade English
My 3rd period- 8th grade English class
My 4th period- 7th grade English class