Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Journey Begins...

I am a 25 year old preservice teacher.  I plan to finish my Master of Arts in Teaching in May, 2013.  I will have all of my licensure requirements met by December, 2012, and plan to teach in my own classroom in January, 2013. 

The Background Story:

As many teachers understand, it is vital that readers have background knowledge of the content before they dive into the information.  Thus, here is background info on me.

I graduated from King College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible & Religion and Youth Ministry.  In addition to this double major, I minored in Psychology with a desire to teach children somehow.  I realized my junior year that I truly wanted to be a teacher, but did not want to stay the necessary two years in college to earn the degree.  Thus, I came back home to Lexington and took a teaching position at a school for children with Autism.  Here I taught students from ages 3-16 in a one-on-one setting.  Along with my co-workers, I taught my students life skills as well as academic content for two years.  I decided to leave the school in August of 2011 to seek my Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College. 

I began the PBTL program (see the website for more info) but was told by my cooperating teachers that I should go ahead and work towards my masters rather than simply gaining licensure.  In January 2012 I began the Masters program and will go full time year round until I graduate in May 2013.

In the Fall of 2011 I began a 60 hour practicum with kindergarten at Central Elementary School under "Mrs. T".  Mrs. T (short for Teacher*) taught me so much about what it means to be an effective and caring teacher without burning out.  She encouraged me in all of my interactions with students, and I loved kindergarten!  The experience in her classroom taught me that I most certainly wanted to be a teacher, and Mrs. T told me she truly believed I would be excellent at it. 

In the Spring of 2012 I completed 2 forty hour practica, also at Central as I was working as an after school counselor in a program run by the local YMCA.  The first practicum was in fifth grade.  I was extremely nervous about the content knowledge required by fifth graders, and the attitudes of the older students towards themselves, others, and the subject matter.  I was placed in a science classroom, the subject I am least competent in!  I nervously stumbled through the 40 hours, and was so pleasantly surprised by the students' love of and respect towards one another, me, and their teacher.  I loved fifth grade, as well!  I was able to teach using dramatic activities and the students understood the connection between the activities and the lessons I was trying to teach.  I taught group lessons, conducted individual reading groups in which the students loved the book so much that they groaned when it was time to stop!, and even conducted the last school day primarily by myself as the teacher was unexpectedly absent and the substitute left early.  The fifth grade teacher also inspired me to teach in new and engaging ways to keep students interested in the material.  He, too, was confident in my ability to teach, further fueling my desire to attain my license.

Finally, my last practicum experience was in first grade.  Here I learned that first grade is centered around teaching reading.  Because reading is the foundation of the rest of all students' education, it is a high-pressured grade.  I love all of the content, but am fearful of the heavy weight placed on teaching students to read.  If they leave the grade NOT on grade level, it will begin to shape the rest of their educational years.  Nevertheless, I am still confident that teaching is the career for me!

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of these influential persons

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