Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Who Says the Education Profession isn't Rewarding?!

     I've heard that being a teacher is one of the most rewarding professions a person can get into, and let me tell you, I 100% agree!  Although I do not have an actual teaching position yet (because I'm still in college), I still have had multiple experiences in the classroom from my practicums, volunteering, and subbing in multiple school districts. Here are just a few of my experiences.

     I work at an after school care program in an urban elementary school.  Although I'm a secondary education major, I managed to get myself involved in the pre-k through 1st grade group.  Now let me tell you something, these kids are hard work! They all have so much energy and unfortunately, in the after school program we make them do their homework first because some of the children don't get the chance to complete it at home.  However, if you were 5 would you want to spend all day in school and then go into an after school program just to sit back in a desk to do more work?! I know I wouldn't! Anyways, there is one student in my group, now a first grader, who has so much built up energy, among other things, that he is nearly impossible to control! Many of the other college students who volunteer ignore him as long as he is not causing any harm to himself or others, but I've tried to make it a point to talk to him and see if I can help him with homework, or go for a walk with him in the hallway to help him calm down.  Now finally, after two semesters of this, something clicked.  I came in on Monday and he was so well behaved and happy.  He was listening to me and doing what I asked him to do without a fight! He did not try to disrupt the class, and he actually offered to make me a bracelet (to which I obviously said yes to!)  It was such a nice feeling to have him be respectful to me; he really brightened my day.  He even offered to help me during a game!

     Another great experience happened during my junior practicum, in an 8th grade algebra class.  When I first came into the class I was greeted and accepted by all the students except for one.  During my first few days there, this student would not look at me, say hello, or answer a question when I called on him.  I later found out from my cooperating teacher about some family problems going on at home with this student, and it was clear that these problems were severely hurting his ability to concentrate and socialize with other students.  I made it a point to say hello to this student everyday in the hopes that he would eventually warm up to me.  Finally, after about half of the semester had gone by I got a hello back from him, which was great! I continued to ask him if he needed help during individual work time but he never responded.  However, by the end of my junior practicum this student was answering questions when I asked him to (he even raised his hand a few times voluntarily), he asked for help when he needed it, and I was even able to have a few short conversations with him.  I was so glad that this student warmed up to me because as a teacher, I feel that my job includes making student feel welcomed in my classroom and to ensure that they feel safe to open up.

Teacher Quote of the Week

For all you teachers out there, have you ever had a really rewarding experience? Tell me about it!

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