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.

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.


Miss Withee

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Withee

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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5 Lessons From Your Freshman Year Of College You Won't Find In Lecture Or A Texbook

Being gentle with yourself is a must.


I recently found myself looking back at pictures from this past year; my freshman year of college. In these pictures, I see a little bit of exhaustion, a little bit of confusion, a whole lot of chaos, but absolute genuine happiness. The kind of happiness that comes when you set off on your own, with the hope that it will all fall into place, but no idea how to navigate through this new chapter of life. It is scary but nonetheless rewarding and whether it is the greatest year of your life, the worst year of your life, or a little bit of both, you'll pack up your freshman dorm with a set of lessons that you sure as hell did not unpack with.

1. Being gentle with yourself is a must.

I grew up being pushed and I am forever thankful for that. We need to be hard on ourselves, we need to do things we don't want to do and that is what college is all about. But college is also new, college is scary, college is hard, and it's important to remind ourselves that we don't have all the answers and that this new stage of life is going to take time to get the hang of.

2. As cliche as it sounds, you have to be yourself, and there is no better place to do that than in college.

College is essentially the beginning of the rest of your life. This is where we're put to figure out what we want to do and who we want to become and you cannot expect to get to the bottom of this if you're not aligning with your true self. Once we let go of all we were told to be in high school, all we have been pretending to be, things fall into place. We find the friends were supposed to have, we get involved in things we genuinely enjoy, and the opportunities we need arise.

3. You need a plan but that plan needs to be flexible.

I came into college sure that I wanted to major in journalism and go to law school. After taking a few journalism classes and learning more about the field, I knew it wasn't for me. But I was so sure that this was what I wanted for so long that I held onto it just because I felt an obligation to myself and the plan I had already laid out. My friends knew my plan, mom and dad knew my plan, grandma knew the plan. As a person who has always been a firm believer in going with the flow, I knew this wasn't a great idea. I changed my major to writing intensive English and although I haven't started it quite yet, I chose my classes with excitement and feel a great sense of relief that I am one step closer to doing what I want to do. I've learned it is important not to let others limit you but even more important not to limit yourself. Have a plan but go where the wind takes you, as long as your intentions are pure, the wind is probably right.

4. Home is everything and the people at home are even more.

This one almost seems like a given. You don't know what you have until its gone... or at least a couple hundred miles away. Spending everyday in the same city with the same people can get repetitive and it is almost inevitable as you go through the motions of everyday life to lose sight of just how special your hometown is and the people that it's made up of. The people you meet in college, at least in my case, are some of the greatest, closest to the heart people you will ever meet, but no one, absolutely no one is your mom or your dad or your sister or your best friend of 12 years. These are the people you start with and being away from them makes you realize they are the people you need to keep with you till the end.

5. Going outside your comfort zone is the greatest thing you could ever do for yourself.

If you are looking to be uncomfortable, then be a freshman in college. Nothing says discomfort quite like moving away from home, living in a small box with a potential stranger and learning to live almost entirely your own. As scary as this sounds, I've learned that it is simply the greatest thing that has happened to me thus far in life. Going outside your comfort zone means something different for everyone. But whatever it may be, do it, it is the only way to get from point A to point B.

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