A Love Letter To My Future Student Teaching Experience

A Love Letter To My Future Student Teaching Experience

I'm excited, I'm hopeful, I'm ready.
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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.

XOXO

Miss Withee

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Withee

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

922
views

First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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