Is this real life?
Am I dreaming?
These are the thoughts going through my brain as I sit on the couch watching TV without one inch of guilt. The MAT is finally over, and I can’t be happier! This year and a half has been an amazing and challenging journey. Would I do it over…….ummm…..NO! BUT, I can say I've grown not only as an educator but also as a person.
I’m more reflective. If you wrote a reflection about everything you did and why for a year, you would be more reflective too. Because of the MAT, I’ve taken reflecting to the next level and incorporated it into my….. personal life! As you can see…it’s getting out of hand. For instance, Thursday, I went to the mall, and I instantly fell in love with this ring. (if you know me, you know I have a slight obsession/weakness for shoes, purses and jewelry.) Since I wanted it, I was gonna buy it. I get half way to the register, look over the ring, and I pondered for like 5 mins whether or not I really needed the ring. I made a list of pros and cons in my brain….then I came to the conclusion that I had a ring that resembled it, and I put it back. So, my new reflecting skills kept $20 in my pocket, but it’s starting to ruin the rush I get from shopping. (lol)
2nd, I’m more confident. I’ve always been confident in my abilities and myself. I’ve never doubted that I couldn’t do anything. I was raised in a family of driven and hardworking people who didn’t take I can’t or no as a possible answer. My parents, grandparents, and aunts taught me that I could do anything as long I put my mind to it and believed in God. They also taught me the importance of never settling. Those were areas I didn’t have issues with, but I did I have a problem voicing my opinions. I use to keep a lot of things in because I was afraid that I would offend someone, or my opinions would be misinterpreted. I really hate hurting people’s feelings. (I know my best friends are saying…whatever) I’m a little softer than people believe, so when I hurt someone, I feel bad about it for a long time. During my second internship and the second semester of classes, I noticed I really didn’t have a problem voicing my opinions about things I didn’t agree with, or asking for further explanation when I needed clarification on tasks. I was speaking up for something one day in class and kept defending the topic. When I thought about it, I shocked myself. I see this as a gain because now I know I won’t back down when I’m passionate about something.
Since I haven’t blogged in forever, I don’t think I told you guys about my second internship; if I did it wasn’t much. Leaving Kirksey was so sad for me! I literally cried from Russellville to Little Rock on my drive home after my last day. If you drive forty, you know that’s not a short distance. I had a great team and amazing students. So, when January came around, I wasn’t expecting a good experience at all. In my mind, my new school experience would never measure to my Kirksey experience.
Holt and Kirksey are different as night and day. I learned to accept the differences between the two schools. Even if I didn’t agree with the way they were doing things, I had to go with it because they had a reason for doing things the way they did them. I also had to get adjusted to teach a new subject, Social Studies. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t know if my teaching strategies were effective or not. As time progressed, I learned strategies from my university classes and my first and second mentor teachers. I just took a little from their teaching strategies and made my own.Then…Social Studies almost became second nature. At times, I felt like I had been teaching the subject for years. Creating Social Studies lesson plans/projects was really fun. I got the chance to read about the different historical figures and wars to help me plan and make learning relevant to my students.
I guess I’ll keep my topic on my students. I started the semester off w/o a mentor due to the Sugar Bowl. I’m not gonna lie….those first three days were rough! I got more attitude and eye rolling that first week than I did my whole first semester. Looking at it now, I know they were testing me; they wanted to see how I rolled and were shocked that I meant what I said and I didn’t and wasn’t going to budge. As the year continued, things progressively got better and by my ending day they were perfect. (too my standards anyways J)
Every day in Social Studies with them was a great adventure. Whenever I taught, they made me feel like I was the most amazing person in the world. They just looked with so much interest and were so attentive. Sometimes it was scary how much they were paying attention and not gazing in another world. I realized that I was possibly doing something right when one my popular female students, who gave me a rough time that first week, volunteered (w/o being asked) to talk about a personal connection with the materials we were learning and even had a complex questions for me to answer….ALL IN THE SAME PERIOD! (my mouth hit the floor in my head)
They also got so excited about all the different projects we created and different learning stations they worked in. They created some amazing projects that I plan to keep for my future classroom. They were even bold enough to accept me implementing writing in Social Studies. They did question me at first, but after we did it for about two weeks, it became second nature to them.
I was so excited that the program was ending, but I was so sad to leave my kids. These students really didn’t show much affection towards me. I mean let’s be honest as humans we all want to be liked, but when you’re teaching you have to put that in the back of your mind. It’s all about having control and making the best decisions for all of the students. So, I wasn’t expecting much expression from them when I left.
My last day was really eye opening. As soon as school started, I had students coming in hugging me, and asking why I had to leave. I think I hugged each of my students three times on my last day. I was even more surprised when I was thrown a surprise party. It was too sweet! I was just in awe that whole day.
Last semester, I gave each of my students a Christmas card. I wrote each of them a personal note. I made each on them original. When I talked to my mentor from the first semester, she told me that several of the students kept their cards and used them as bookmarks and so on…. So, I decided to try it again this semester. I didn’t know how these students would respond, but it was worth a try. This semester, my classes were so much bigger! I think my smallest class had twenty-three. Last semester, twenty-three was my biggest class. So, I wrote 100+ notes. My hand was about to fall off, but it was so worth it. I passed all of those notes out, and the students really liked it. It was the first time I’ve handed them something all semester that wasn’t left on the floor. I guess my second and third periods talked about their notes so much that when it got to fifth and sixth period, that was the first things that came out their mouths when they entered in the room! I was ecstatic that they enjoyed it; they were so impressed that I actually handwrote them and made them all different.
Giving those notes was one of the highlights of my day. Just seeing them smile made me feel like I accomplished something. Even if they didn’t learn anything about Social Studies the whole time I was there, I was glad to see them smile and realize that I cared about them, and I only want them best for each of them.
2nd highlight- one of my favorite students approached me at the end of the school day while I was on dismissal duty. This student is such a gentleman and model student; he’s very popular amongst his peers and starts for the 9th grade varsity b-ball team (remember he’s a 7th grader) with the junior high kids. 7th grade boys don’t show much emotion. They try to be cool and act like nothing bothers them. I guess he didn’t read his note until after class. When he was going home he stopped, in front of all of his friends, and gave me the longest hug in the world; he also thanked me for teaching him and making him do his best work all times. I was shocked! I expected this from my girls, but not a boy. His actions made my day, and reassured me for the 100th time that I’m in the right profession!
I’ve subbed at Holt twice since my last day, and it’s so great to see my kids. They make me feel like they really miss me! It was so cute to come back to sub and have notes on my desk from so many students. That meant a lot to me. They probably broke all their class rules writing those notes. They wanted to write me notes because I wrote them one! It was so sweet!
So all and all….this semester was a great one and I’ve learned tons about myself, my teaching abilities, and so much more. Currently, I’m really enjoying my free time! It feels good to actually do things like cleaning, reading, and watching TV and not feel like you have 100+ other things that need to be done.
Since graduation was yesterday and everything is pretty much official, the real world has slowly but surely made her appearance in my life. I’m applying for jobs all over. I would love to stay in NWA and work. I had an interview at my first internship rotation school, Kirksey, Tuesday; I’m confident about it. I interviewed for a sixth grade language arts position; Kirksey would be an amazing place to begin my career. I’m familiar with the school and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Hopefully, I’ll get the job, but if not I know that God has something else planned for me.
I’ve been writing a while, so I’m gonna wrap this blog up! I’ll leave you with pictures of my 7th yellow all-star babies!
CPR! (their initials)My favorite boys! They were up to something! They crack me up on a daily basis! The one in orange shirt was mentioned in my highlights!