My First Semester Teaching Has Taught Me More Than Any Course Could

My First Semester Teaching Has Taught Me More Than Any Course Could

Majoring in education may seem like a walk in the park until you actually have a class on your own.

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If you ever want to be humbled really quickly just become a teacher. I graduated from Texas A&M; in the fall with honors and I felt like I was going to change the world one student at a time. However, my full-time job was much harder than just making a difference in my students' lives. Teachers have to create lessons, maintain successful classroom management, and differentiate the instruction for each student all while following a specific set of state standards needed for each subject and grade level.

While teachers know that the job requires juggling each task in this new job new teachers never really know what to expect until in their own classroom. Even though A&M; provides us with many opportunities to get exposure to classrooms, student teachers are more like cool aunts since they are not responsible for the students' success or data. At the end of the day, student teachers can leave without having extra paperwork or having to rearrange lessons according to the students' understanding.

When I started my new job, I went in as the cool aunt - and boy was that a mistake. I wanted to give my students plenty of choices and freedom in the classroom. However, most of my students took advantage of my naive ideals and created a chaotic environment. It is much more difficult to take away privileges than it is to give them. That being said, I was already at a disadvantage because I came into the school mid-year after a teacher that had virtually no classroom management. The idea of homework was foreign to my students and they did not receive it well when I began cracking down as the authoritarian parental figure rather than the cool aunt.

After many power struggles and lectures on behavior in the classroom, I began to burn out. I knew it was time for a big change so I pondered on how to reach my students when I obviously did not relate to their daily struggles. Some of them probably did not get meals outside of school or love and respect from relationships. I took a step back and tried to get to know my students individually. I learned that when they feel my personal interest for them they respect me more. The subtle things, such as their preferential seating arrangements or their favorite colors allowed me to show them that I see each one of them and I care about them.

My mom always emphasizes that there is a takeaway from every experience, good or bad. While my job is not what I expected at all, I have learned so much from experience. I now understand why jobs prefer candidates with experience because I have learned lessons that are invaluable to my future career. I also learned how to mean what I say and to always follow through with what I say I am going to do because my students will test me to see if I am bluffing.

Overall, this job has exposed my ignorance about my future career. Pre-service teachers can study and go into the field to hop prepare them for the experience that they will have, but I believe that until the responsibility is on their shoulders, they will not understand all that the job entails. Anyone that thinks teaching is easy or that they can do it needs to go try it before saying so. It is by no means easy, in fact, this has been the hardest job mentally, physically, and emotionally that I have ever had. So my advice to you is to thank a teacher!

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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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.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
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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!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

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