The Best Spring Break Ever

The Best Spring Break Ever

I was doing what I love in a place that I love.
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I’ve been in school for about fourteen years now, so that makes about fourteen spring breaks in my life, and this past week was by far the best. Let me back up a little. First of all, since I live in Illinois, it doesn’t always feel like spring during spring break. My family has never been one to take a week long beach vacation during that time because both my parents worked, and preferred not to use their time off for something like that. Sure there were a few day trips, and some sleepovers were had, but I pretty much always just stayed around the house during spring break. In grade school it felt a little pathetic, and I would get bored, but it’s different in college. Spring break is at that point in the semester where I start to miss home, my own room, and my cozy bed, and I just need a break from school, so I’m perfectly happy lounging around my house for a week. However, this past week did not involve a lot of lounging around. It was really nice being at home, and even though I was extremely busy, I enjoyed every minute of it.

As part of the education program at my school, I am required to do a practicum in my hometown for a week. I chose to do it over my spring break because, as I said before, I’m usually not very busy. So, a couple weeks before my break I contacted my old third grade teacher, who is still at the elementary school I went to. I had her about ten years ago, so I wasn’t sure she would remember me if she read my name in an email, but sure enough, she did. She was very excited to hear from me and welcome me into her classroom for the week to aide and observe.

My third grade teacher had switched to second grade, and since I’ve always wanted to teach fourth or fifth grade, I wasn’t sure how much I would like it, but I really enjoyed it. I mean my week was AWESOME. She introduced me to the class on the first day as one of her former students, and they eagerly asked me questions about what teachers I had when I was that age. I did some observing during a math lesson, and then she had me lead a reading group. I was surprised at how quickly the students warmed up to me. I was sitting at this long table in the back of the room, and after working with the reading group, a student came over to me and asked to read me a story that he had written. This led to another student reading me her story, and soon enough there was a flock of second graders standing around the table waiting for a turn.

Next thing I knew, a student was handing me a picture he had drawn, and another one was asking me to come out for recess with them. I’m happy to say that this is what the rest of the week looked like. I got asked to go out for recess every day (sadly I had to decline), students would come over and sit with me at the table while they did their work, and come and show me something once they had completed it. They were sad to hear that I was only there for a week, and on the last day asked me to stay longer. I was just as sad to be leaving them, and wanted to stay so badly, but spring break was over.

Like I said before, it was a busy and quite exhausting week, but I enjoyed every minute of it. If anything, this experience just confirmed why I want to be a teacher. I love working with kids, and helping them learn. I was excited to get up everyday and see my students. It’s so great getting to know each one of them, and even though I was only there for a week, I could probably tell you one thing that I learned about each individual student. It was truly the best spring break of my life, and it was because I spent it with some truly amazing second graders. I love that class, and I know I’ll never forget them.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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