today was my last day of student teaching.
i've spent the last 3 months in a junior on-level english classroom. i'll admit that in the beginning i was a little skeptical about the teacher i was paired with. we're the same age and at first i thought we might have an awkward time of it. but it only took a day or two before i realized that we were each other's color-coded match made in teacher heaven. i learned so much from her and the fellow teachers in the english department. other than the actual teaching, lunchtime was my favorite part of the day because it meant hanging out with all of the teachers in the workroom, telling stories, laughing with (and at) each other, and being inspired by these amazing women.
i absolutely loved my students. going to school everyday and seeing their faces made me so happy. the two major topics i covered included a poetry unit, and most recently the crucible by arthur miller. there were some ups and downs, but i think we succeeded in learning a lot and laughing even more (or at least, i laughed - some of the students just gave me funny looks). i'm going to miss my juniors. they are funny and smart and sweet and at times a little crazy. they made my teacher heart happy.
some of the more memorable lessons i learned this semester:
pick your battles.
communication is everything.
"the fun never stops."
"you have been SILENCED."
slow down and simplify.
adding "-palooza" to a word automatically makes it more fun.
don't play the blame game.
never bad-mouth or name-call.
"i'm over it and i need you to be over it."
"i know that my class is not the most important thing in your life and it's not the most important thing in my life."
high school is never over.
love your subject, love your students.
find like-minded teacher-friends on whom you can rely for support.
before i started my student teaching, there was a part of me that was scared to death. i had this notion that it was going to be this incredibly hard thing that would suck the life out of me. i suppose i imagined it would be similar to my los angeles internship - difficult and depressing. because i live alone, far away from family and best friends, i was terrified of having to go through this experience on my own, just as i had with my pr internship. but now at the end of it, i wonder what i was so afraid of. some days were difficult, yes, but it was never depressing. never during my student teaching did i doubt my decision to go back to school for a second degree and be certified to teach high school. and i credit the amazing experience i have had to my professors and facilitators at ut, my cooperating and fellow teachers at whs who were so kind and supportive, and ultimately to my heavenly father for knowing me so well and encouraging me to go back to school and guiding me to austin.
in one of my school notebooks i wrote the following quotation from a professor:
"you'll know 'this is it' when you truly love what you are doing."
well, folks, this is it.
(my cooperating teacher made this scrapbook for me of notes from and photos of my students.)
(my cooperating teacher... and now good friend. *inner tremble*)