The Life Of A Young Teacher, As Told By Jessica Day Of 'New Girl'

The Life Of A Young Teacher, As Told By Jessica Day Of 'New Girl'

Our student teaching spirit animal.

As future educators, we all have certain visions of ourselves in our own classrooms. No matter what the image is, we can all relate to Jessica Day from New Girl and her experiences as a young teacher. Here’s a list of 10 things we can all see ourselves doing, both in and out of the classroom, as future young teachers, as told by Jess Day.

1. You want to have the best "Teacher Outfits.”

It’s almost impossible to go shopping online or in store without seeing an item and thinking, “Oh wow, that’d be perfect to wear in the classroom!” We’re young and hip and we ain’t afraid to show it! We rock polka dots, stripes, and bright colors just like Jess. She isn’t afraid to show her individual style, while keeping it appropriate, and neither are we.

2. You find yourself singing more often than simply speaking.

If you’re working with Early Childhood students, like preschool or kindergarten, you’re probably singing a lot of songs already. Whether it be the Alphabet Song or Days of the Week, you need to be able to carry a tune to keep your students entertained. Jess uses this to her advantage and incorporates music in her lessons for students of all ages. For many, your singing trickles out of your career, and suddenly, you are singing to yourself while doing chores. You may even start “sing talking” without realizing it, just like Jess.

3. You use your “Teacher Voice” on your friends.

Jess approaches resolving conflict the way any teacher would, and her teacher voice comes out. She tries to incorporate the “Feelings Stick”, a method she uses in her classroom, into the Loft, much to her roommates’ dismay. Her teacher voice comes out even more often when she is more sober than her friends. You might find yourself telling your drunk friends to take “one step at a time” on the stairs and to use “walking feet” when you’re heading in after a night out. We all just learn to approach any problem the way we would if we were in teacher mode, which can definitely create some funny stories.

4. Sometimes, things don’t work out as planned.

No matter how much planning we do for a lesson or unit, things are sure to go wrong somewhere, and that’s okay! We just have to learn to accept it and learn how we can better ourselves in the future, just like Jess does. Even when she planned a terrible Biology class field trip to pick up trash and ended up getting stung by bees, she was able to keep positive and laugh it off in the end.

5. You realize middle school was the worst, and want to help guide your students through this time as best you can.

If you’re a middle school teacher, like Jess, you are often forced to relive one of the worst times of your life. Cliques are still a large problem with your students, relationship drama enters your classroom everyday, and you witness your students developing as individuals during their awkward stages. No matter what, you’re there to support your students during the time they need it most. You are the greatest support system a student has outside of their own family, so you try your hardest to help guide them in the right direction.

6. You always aim high.

Jess has always expected the best of herself. Within three seasons, Jess went from a classroom teacher to a Vice Principal of a middle school with a significant pay raise. She was given this opportunity due to her ambition and value she places on the students. After being laid off, Jess continued teaching by applying for a job in adult education. We should all strive to be as persistent and excellent as Jess, regardless of any obstacles we face. Being a teacher is not easy, but a strong ambition can make the positive results outweigh the negatives.

7. You find it difficult to navigate your new relationships with other teachers.

We all spent the majority of our elementary school days wondering what the Teacher’s Lounge was like, but once we make it there as a teacher, we realize there’s way more to it than we thought. You run into all the gossip about what’s going on in different grades, a few cliquey teachers who have been teaching together forever, and maybe even an attractive male teacher. No matter what, you want to keep it professional. Of course, it’s going to be difficult to resist the urge to gossip about students or make conversation with that male teacher about something other than what’s going on in the school, but, as we’ve learned from Jess, mixing work and play can often end poorly.

8. You get sick from your students all the time.

Schools are filled with all sorts of little kid diseases and in your first years of teaching, you will definitely catch a few of these before you build up your immunity. Your non-teacher friends won’t get it when you say you can’t go out tonight because one of your students gave you a cold or the stomach bug, and some of them might even shun you so you don’t spread your disturbing child germs all over them.

9. You’re a child at heart.

It’s impossible to be a good teacher if you don’t understand your students. The best way to understand them is to put yourself in their shoes again. Embrace your inner child. Learn all of the words to the Frozen soundtrack. Go see Finding Dory. Keep a collection of your favorite childhood movies and relive the emotions you felt when you first watched them. If we’re children at heart, we gain a better understanding of what our students find entertaining. Jess understands what makes children cry, and can reference many children’s movies.

10. You help your students and others understand that we should all accept who we are.

Each and every one of us is unique in our own way and so are our students. We each have our own qualities that make us who we are and it’s important that we show our students how to accept this about ourselves. Jess may be weird, but she’s proud of that, and utilizes her quirky personality in the classroom. Our students look up to us, and if they see us being ourselves and embracing who we are, then they will do the same! This is especially helpful for middle school students who are going through their awkward phase, and struggling to come to terms with who they are. If Jess can accept her flaws and embrace them, we should accept ours to benefit our students as well!

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Studying the LSAT and Working Full Time

How to make room for advancing your future while maintaining the present.


Working full time and studying for the LSAT proves a delicate tightrope that many people grapple to tread. If you find yourself in such a situation, then some good news is on the horizon as many have juggled the requirements of both aspects seamlessly in the past. Today we take a look at what these individuals did and how you too can effectively balance the scales without leaning too much to one side or the other.

Starting early

Having a full-time job leaves little morsels of time to work with and often the best approach entails beginning early so that the collective total makes up constructive study hours in the long run. As a general rule of thumb for the working class, start a minimum of 4 but preferably 6 months to the date of the test. Science dictates that there are half a dozen intellectual and quality hours per day and with a demanding job breathing down your neck, you can only set aside about a third of that for productive LSAT test prep. With 3 months being the measure of ideal study time for a full-time student, you'll need double that period to be sufficiently up to par.

Maximizing your mornings

Studying in the evenings after a grueling and intellectually draining day at work is as good as reading blank textbooks. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to grasp complex concepts at this time, so start your mornings early so that you can devote this extra time when you are at your mental pinnacle to unraveling especially challenging topics. Evening study times should only be for refresher LSAT prep or going through light subject matters requiring little intellectual initiative. For those who hit their stride at night, take some time to unwind and complete your chores before getting down to business well before bedtime.

Taking some time off

All work and no play does indeed make Jack a dull boy and going back and forth between work and study is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. So take some time off of work every now and then, preferably during weekdays- you can ask for a day off every fortnight or so- as weekends are a prime study period free of work obligations. Such breaks reduce fatigue, better study performance and increase the capacity for information retention.

Prioritizing study

Given the scarce oasis of free time in your busy schedule, you cannot afford to miss even a single session and this commitment is important in spreading out the burden so that it is not overwhelming as you approach the finish line. Be sure to have a clear schedule in place and even set reminders/alarms to help enforce your timetable. If it's unavoidable to miss a single session, set aside a makeup as soon as possible.

Last but not least, have a strong finish. Once you are approaching the home run i.e. about 2 or 3 weeks to the test, take this time off to shift your focus solely to the test. The last month can make or break your LSAT test prep and it'll be hard to concentrate on working whilst focusing completely on the test.

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