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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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.

College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 49

Language is a powerful tool.


Welcome back! We made our way to a meeting with Dr. Shikaki, a Palestinian demographer--basically, that means he takes polls to see what the population's opinion is. It also means he can see how the opinion changes, as the polls started decades ago.

Again, as I talk about his message, keep in mind that this is his unique narrative, and it is different from other narratives out there--both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. He does give a very factual talk, though, due to the nature of his job. He essentially takes all the narratives of everyone else to craft a blanket-statement narrative; however, we should keep in mind that blanket-statements are almost never 100% accurate.

In addition, because he is able to write the questions being asked in his polls, there could be certain narratives left out. Of course, if you've taken any statistics class, you know about nonresponse bias and other biases that come out of censuses and samples. To my knowledge, Dr. Shikaki's polls are only in the West Bank, so Gazan Palestinians aren't even included here.

The first thing he tells us is that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are dissatisfied with their government, the Palestinian Authority. The approval rating for the PA is only about 20-25%, and 80% of Palestinians surveyed said that the government is corrupt in some way. A large group of secular Palestinians said that they support the liberal values that are associated with democracy, such as press freedom, gender equality, minority rights, and most importantly, regularly-held elections.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Palestinians who support a democratic political system (because they are dissatisfied with the current corruption, as the current system is not giving them a very high standard of living) rose to over 80%.

Some liberal social values are not as widely accepted because many of these liberal values are a very Westernized way of living, and Arab culture differs from Western culture in many ways; neither is better than the other. However, Palestinians do want the freedom of press and less corruption in political parties. Currently, they do not think they have an independent judiciary.

Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinians can be split, for the most part, into "nationalists," who are mostly secular, and "Islamists," who are mostly religiously observant and non-secular. Nationalists believe in a separation of the church and state, and they are first and foremost Palestinians (compared to Islamists, who are first and foremost Muslims--and Palestinians second). Fatah is the largest political faction within the nationalists.

Within nationalism, there are mainstream nationalists and leftist nationalists. The overwhelming majority of nationalists are mainstream nationalists. They believe that though there is a separation of church and state, there should be cooperation between the state and religion; both can work together. It is not an antagonistic relationship. 55% of the entire Palestinian public would identify with mainstream nationalism (15% would identify with leftist nationalism, and 30% would identify with Islamism).

The smaller section of nationalism is leftist nationalism. They believe that the state can eradicate the importance placed on religion if need be. On the other end is Islamism, which believes that state and religion cannot be separated. Parliament cannot rule in a way that is opposed to Islamic rule and Muslim values. Again, they are first and foremost Muslims, and after that comes their identity of Palestinians and Arabs.

They show more support for a rule by Hamas in the West Bank because Hamas tends to have similar values as them. In the West Bank, about a third of the population supports Hamas over the PA. In Gaza, there is higher support for Hamas, and Hamas was actually democratically elected after the second intifada.

The public in the West Bank sometimes blames nationalists for corruption, and since nationalists are associated with the current government, Hamas could actually win a popular vote right now--which is why the PA has been holding off elections (which, to Palestinians, is another sign of corruption).

Now that we've seen how Palestinians view themselves, we need to see how Palestinians view their Israeli neighbors--and how they view the possibility of peace. It's a lot to unpack, so this concludes this chapter, and I will be talking about it in the next section!

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