Dear Future Student Teaching Experience,
I can already hear the greetings we will do at Morning Meeting, the side conversations about the pizza on the lunch menu, the sweet giggles of innocent hearts. I can already hear the morning bell and announcements, the choral reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, and frustrating mumbles of "I can't do this" transform into relieved sighs of "Oh, now that makes sense!"
I can already smell the crayon wax, the eraser shavings, the expo markers. I can already smell the paper fresh off the copier, the homemade laminated posters, the fresh breeze traveling through the windows during the warm month of September.
I can already see the artwork that will cover the walls, the tooth-gapped smiling faces, the desks full of bright faces and little fingers eagerly wiggling in the air. I can already see our future "Math Talks" on chart paper, the stories we will read together, and the lightbulbs that will illuminate as I whisper the words, "You did it; kiss your brain."
My heart is literally bursting at the seems.
You don't even know how relieved I was when I found out I passed my last MTEL test. You don't even know how excited I am to finish up my last two education classes of my entire undergraduate career. You don't even know how right it feels to apply for student teaching for the fall.
But it's happening. I'm doing this.
Even though I am terrified of the ambiguous path that lies ahead, I have never felt more prepared. And I have some very important people to thank ;)
Why I'm ready to make Stonehill's Education Department proud:
One of the main reasons I was drawn to Stonehill in the first place was its AMAZING education department. I began my freshman year in the little red school house and even though I miss that building dearly, we have all made the College Center our new home and I love everything about our department. You have all had such an impact on my journey as I have learned so much in my three years here. Even though I have one more year before I must say my final goodbye, I feel that now is the best time to say my first official thank you:
Karen: Thank you for the entertaining stories you came into class with everyday. I only had the privilege of taking Foundations with you, but you have played such an important role in my time here; encouraging my double major in American Studies put me on the path for my entire college career.
Kathy: Thank you for teaching me the difference between phonemes and morphemes, how to read an IEP, and how to approach one's zone of proximal development. It means the world to me that you have entrusted me to teach the Foundations of Reading MTEL Review Session and I look forward to our Practicum Seminar next semester!
Dr. P: Thank you for your kind heart, for always encouraging limitless creativity, and for introducing me to the important pedagogies of Piaget and Vygotsky. I will always remember how much you believe in me and I will send you pictures of my future classroom library (hopefully it will include a bathtub with carpet squares!)
Margy: I'M SO EXCITED TO INCLUDE YOU IN THIS ARTICLE NOW THAT I HAVE FINALLY TAKEN CLASSES WITH YOU! Thank you for being my go-to person for recommendations, for making me actually look forward to 2 1/2 hour classes, and for giving me all the resources I need to be a culturally relevant teacher. You are one of the warmest souls I have ever met and I'm just so happy to know you.
Kate: I have quite literally spent time with you Tuesday-Friday every single week for the entire YEAR! Thank you for teaching me about growth mindset, how to approach the stigma surrounding math and science in the classroom, and how to make lesson plans and effective assessments using "backwards design". I love being your advisee, organizing folders for your MassMate conferences, and making jokes about math cocktail parties ;)
Frances: Thank you for selecting me to be an Ed Lab monitor-aka the best job EVER- my freshman year, for always reciprocating my enthusiasm when I walk into the main office, and for being such a friendly presence in the Education Department. I'm glad the College Center set-up allows me to see your smiling face more often!
Lisa: Thank you for maintaining everything from pre-practicum placements, to MTEL Review Session attendance, to getting us a vacuum or fixing the lamination machine in the Ed Lab. My student teaching experience, work study jobs, and overall wellbeing in this department would not be possible without all your hard work and dedication.
Why I'm ready to make my mother proud:
If you don't know who my mother is: picture my enthusiasm for education, my love for children, and my excitement over organization, creativity, and growth- and multiply it about 23 times. She is known for hugging custodians, dancing in the main office, and telling children to "take a spin" when they get a new haircut. When she was a teacher, her classroom was painted with student hopes and dreams, her morning meetings set a warm and welcoming tone for each day, and her expectations were always high in and out of the classroom. My mom is simultaneously the most "no-nonsense" and "I-could-eat-you-I-love-you-so-much" individual in the universe and every single child I have watched her interact with has looked at her with such respect; like she's the role model they always wanted in their lives.
This is all I hope to be.
So there's a lot of pressure here. But between my mom and Stonehill's Education Department, I have all the resources I need to have a successful student teaching experience. I am still getting used to the idea that I'm not going to be good at it right away. I know I'm going to make mistakes, feel frustrated as I write lesson plans, and struggle with classroom management. I have listened to the joys and frustrations of student teachers through my time at the Ed Lab and I know from their stories that while it is exhausting and tedious, it is the most rewarding experience of their lives.
Student teaching is calling my name.
And on August 28, 2018, I will finally be able to answer.