The Most Rewarding Moments For Elementary School Teachers

5 Of The Most Rewarding Moments For Any Elementary School Teacher

Teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions out there because of our students.


Nothing beats the exhilarating feeling of watching a child learn something new for the first time. The majority of the joy doesn't even come from knowing that I have taught something correctly or with attention to detail. It's watching everything click together and fall in place like the ending motion of a Rube Goldberg machine.

I have now been teaching for just over three months and have celebrated the teaching milestone of completing my first term with my students. I had not anticipated the connections that I would make with students and other teachers as I am split between two schools as is the nature of my position. However, I have found myself perfectly nestled between both of the campuses and have the opportunity to teach and work with twice the students. The importance of elementary school can sometimes be diminished by those who do not recognize the profound impact of early education foundations.

Everyone generally knows that basic math and language skills are built in elementary school. But, it is sometimes forgotten how the experience of learning those subjects and working with those in the school can shape a child for the rest of their academic careers. I, personally, found some trouble with adjusting in different schools and oscillated between loving school and feeling powerless to the material. It is remembering my experience and the teachers that changed my balance towards the loving-school side of the scale that aids my current teaching role. There are so many wonderful, and truly, life-changing parts of being an elementary school teacher. These few are the ones that I've been encountering the most recently.

1. The moment of honesty and confidence


Some of the best moments of being a teacher is when you have a student who feels comfortable enough in your teaching and guidance that they take you into their confidence. Although for elementary school students this might not be as prevalent as it is for older students, the fact that a student feels safe enough to come up to you and talk about their personal concerns and worries is a wonderful moment.

Regardless of the external demeanor of the person, every teacher generally places great value in these moments as they are the gateway to forming a better relationship with students for the future.

2. The "Wait! It all makes sense now!" moment


The "Ah-ha!" moment is the one that teachers talk about the most and it's for a good reason. Any teacher-recruiting video or advertisement points out this most-satisfactory instance. When a student finally gets something, especially if the concept has been one that has particularly been tormenting them, that cathartic release is all the reward you need as a teacher. Students learning, in the rawest form, is a #1 reason why most people (including myself) love their jobs as educators.

3. The "Students Helping Other Students" moment


Watching students help other students is a moment filled with pride and always results in a smile, in my case. This happens both when a classmate helps another classmate with a problem in academic work, but also when I see students who generally are not part of the same friend group help each other with frustration, paying attention, and loneliness. Especially with the younger students, parts of school require a degree of taste-acquiring that their fellow classmates can help with. And, when I see this happen without even the need for me to walk over and quietly ask a student to help out, I feel so thankful for my students at that moment.

4. The moment when students become teachers


Although there tends to be a negative reputation associated with the know-it-all of the class, knowing that there is a student in the room who you can rely on and deem to be trustworthy is reassuring but, that's not the student that I am talking about or the moment.

The moment that I am talking about is when a child has absolute joy on their face because they are able to stand in front of the classroom and help teach something. Part of the fun is in leading their fellow students from a somewhat higher-up place in the room, but part of that joy comes from being able to share their own piece of the knowledge puzzle that students leave school with every day. This is the most obvious when it comes time for show-and-tell, or for our kindergarten classrooms, when we pick one student every day to help teach math.

The moment when you're proud of their choices


This moment relates to the "The "Students Helping Other Students" Moment" in which I feel an intense pride for the choices that students make without being asked to. I regularly see friends helping friends up from the ground if they've fallen and reassured them that they didn't look so silly. I see classmates choosing to listen and follow along to the lesson, and then ask the most thoughtful of questions. I see wonderful dialogue during discussions and debates that both excites students and makes them curious.

Kids are kids at the end of the day. They live, they make mistakes (small and large), and they learn. Us teachers are situated in a particularly lucky luxury seat to watch our students grow every day and make better choices than they did the day before. Most recently, we played a game of "Doctor Doctor" in front of the whole school, Fifth-Graders v. Teachers; although the teachers won, not a single student grumbled or cried. We told them, with the greatest honesty, of how proud we were of their sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

Once again, I am incredibly proud of the students in the schools that I work in and how they are working as hard as they have been to become better scholars and citizens in the last few months. Don't forget to consider and don't discount teaching if any of these moments sound tempting to experience and you are wondering what you might want to do after graduation. It is definitely the best way for me to have started off my post-college career.

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10 Things To NEVER Do In College, EVER

Just a little advice for the start of a new semester.

College — a new place with new people and a new you! You're ready to get a fresh start on a new campus; before you start, however, there are some social rules that you should know. These are suggestions that you are not required to follow, but they are highly recommended. Here are ten things you probably should not do from now on.

1. Raise your hand to use the restroom.

You're an adult now. You don't have to ask to use the restroom, go get a snack from the vending machine real quick, or go outside to take an important phone call. Just go and take care of whatever you feel is important.

2. Watch your favorite TV show... while sitting in the front row.

Going to lecture might be boring sometimes (and/or tiring, depending on when the class is). You would rather sign the attendance sheet, take out your laptop, and continue binge watching your favorite show. This is especially tempting when you have class in a big lecture hall with 200+ students; however, if you are in one of the front rows, other people can probably see your laptop screen (especially if you have a fairly large laptop). News flash: there are other people in the class trying to actually pay attention to what the professor is saying. It also defeats the purpose of going to lecture, so it's not doing you a favor either. So if you have to go to class and absolutely need to watch that last episode of "Game of Thrones", do your classmates a favor and sit in the back of the class.

3. Sit down on the bus and use the seat next to you for your backpack.

If you go to a big school like I do, we have a bus system to get from one part of the university to another. Do not be that jerk on a crowded bus who thinks their bag/backpack/whatever other stuff you have with you deserves a seat for itself. If you are on a crowded bus, place your bag on your lap, on the floor between your legs, or under your seat. You will get glares from people if you make a special seat for your [insert expensive bag here].

4. Avoid giving up your seat because you're already comfortable.

If you are able to stand on public transportation, let someone else who might have a heavier load take your seat. Included in this category would be elderly people, pregnant women, injured people, disabled people, someone holding multiple bags of groceries, and other people in situations. It's just the kind thing to do.

5. Leave your drink unattended.

There are horrible, scary people in this world. You might think that a lot cannot possibly happen in the two minutes you'll take in the bathroom or to find your friend in that crowded room, but it can. Someone could slip drugs (or something worse) in your drink while you're away. So I'm going to repeat it for those in the back of the room: NEVER LEAVE YOUR WATER/SODA/BEER/UMBRELLA COCKTAIL/ANY DRINK UNATTENDED.

6. Go into the shower without flip-flops.

Don't have your share of athlete’s foot. Get a pair of shower shoes for those communal showers typical of first-year residence halls; shower floors can and will be gross when you share them with around 30 other people on your floor.

7. Register for an 8 A.M. class.

Unless it is a class needed for graduation and you have no other way around it, this is absolutely a no. You may think that you started high school at 7:30 A.M. in at least a semi-functioning status, so you’ll be used to this. But you’ll quickly learn this is no longer the case and regret your decision immediately. Just don’t do it.

8. Avoid asking for help.

College is a tough transition for first-year students. It’s normal to not earn marks as high as you did in high school. However, don’t let it become a habit because your grades (and your GPA) do matter to employers. There are often resources like writing centers, tutoring, and study groups available for free through the university. This isn't limited to academics, as there are many resources through your college within your reach, such as career services, counseling centers, and health centers. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

9. Avoid office hours.

This goes along with #9. Professors hold office hours for a reason: so you can come in with your questions and seek help straight from the source. Going to office hours with prepared questions lets the professor know that you are serious about your performance in the class. Another benefit from going to office hours on a regular basis would be a higher possibility of them writing a letter of recommendation for you because they get to know you after a semester of struggle. If you have another class during your professor’s office hours, ask the professor if you can meet them at another time that works for both of you.

10. Go home every weekend (unless absolutely necessary).

I know homesickness can get to you when first starting college. The first semester can be tough, and you’ll be tempted to make a trip home. Unless you absolutely have to go back to your hometown, try not to. When you are home, you are missing out on chances to meet new people at school and do new things like attending football games, having Sunday brunch at the dining hall with your floormates, and getting involved in student organizations.

You will get the hang of things eventually. Good luck in the upcoming semester!

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.


Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!


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