This summer, I was EXTREMELY lucky to have been given the ability to work as a classroom aide for a pre-kindergarten class in my old elementary school (and when I say extremely, I mean I cried a little when I got the job). To us education majors, any kind of classroom time is as good as winning the lottery, or at least to me it is. So, when I found out that I would get to spend time working in a classroom this summer, I was so excited. Field placements in school are nice but there was something about actually being hired by a school that made a little bit of my dreams come true.
I had previously worked in a fourth grade classroom once a week for 4 hours as part of a field placement I had at college and when I had gotten the news that I would be working in a Pre-K classroom for 16 hours a week, I was a little nervous. My only experience thus far had been with 10 year olds who knew the lyrics to "Trap Queen" better than I did. Kindergarteners were an entirely different ball game and I knew I would either love it or hate it.
Thankfully, I walked in on the first day and I knew I would absolutely love it. To most 20-year-olds, a room full of 5-year-olds is their worst nightmare but to me, it was a place I felt somewhat at home. Although I loved my 4th graders and they were such great kids, I really liked being in a lower-level classroom. There is something to be said about how much a 5-year-old looks up to their teacher and that aspect of it made everything worthwhile.
Of course, not every second of it was easy and I did not lust over my job every second of the day. There were times when a kid wouldn't listen to me and I felt as though I was doing everything wrong. There were times when I was very much inexperienced and that was also frustrating. However, what set my job apart from anything else I've ever done in my life is that I woke up every morning and was excited to go to work. During the weekends, I would miss my students and I would miss the classroom.
Our Summer Academy was only 6 weeks long, yet the progress my students made was unbelievable to me. Most of my students couldn't even tell me what letters were in their name and by the last day they were writing it out completely. I think that is what makes me realize that I will never be sad in my life as long as I am teaching. I don't foresee a day when I will wake up and regret the low pay and regret the long hours. I foresee a day when I have to retire and I think of the hundreds of students I got to work with in my lifetime and it will be all worthwhile. I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity to become a teacher. I know a lot of people think careers are kind of a drag and people dread having to go to work after college but I can confidently say that I could not be more excited to fulfill the dream I have had since my very first day of Kindergarten in 2001. The future can be kind of scary but I know it will be worthwhile.