10 Things I Want My Future Students To Know

10 Things I Want My Future Students To Know

I am an English major at the University of West GA working toward being a middle school or high school English teacher.

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Teenagers are the most misunderstood, and while many are rebellious, rude, and immature, they all desperately want to have someone who respects them. It can be hard to see that desire within the kids that can't be reached as easily, but I strive to one day be a teacher who empathizes and chooses to listen to her students while enforcing classroom discipline. In a beautifully written article called "Radical Empathy in Teaching" by Judith V, Jordan and Harriet L. Schwartz, they say it best: "Radical empathy positions us to engage and connect with our students while also staying grounded in our role and responsibilities as educators."

But why is empathy so important? "Radical Empathy in Teaching" helps answer that question.

"Whether teaching online or in a campus classroom, a significant part of the teaching life includes interacting with and responding to students. We respond to student comments and questions; their written work, exams, and presentations; their enthusiasm or lack thereof; and sometimes the personal joys and tragedies they share with us. We structure the course, the conversations, and the assignments and within this learning environment, we engage with a range of students who have various levels of motivation, preparation, insight, ability, positivity, negativity, and commitment."

While I may not be a teacher yet and have am a freshman in college, I understand that having that empathy while also creating an orderly, well-behaved classroom is integral towards shaping the next generation of leaders and members of our society. Here are ten things I want my future students to know, the things that aren't said enough, and the encouragement that I might forget to give in times it is most needed.

1. You are valued. You are important to me.

Credit: FindA. Photo -- Sarah Babineau

While it may not seem like it sometimes, I care about your success -- not just in the classroom, but also in the world. As you face challenges daily, I want you to be able to leave all of that behind you as you enter my room. I hope to create a safe space where your ideas can be openly shared. I strive to welcome each of you with open arms and an open, forgiving heart.

2. It is okay to make mistakes. You can start over every day. 

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You have the chance to become better if you apply yourself and accept your mistakes. We take waking up for granted; when we start our day, that is the only chance we have at starting fresh and moving on from yesterday. I urge you to remember that each day as you get ready and put on your backpack for school. I cannot force you to become better, but I will encourage it as much as possible.

3. It is up to you to build your character, and I believe in you and support you.

Credit: Unsplash -- Alexis Brown

4. You have so much to bring to the world.

Credit: Fancycrave -- Brooke Cagle

I don't know who you are yet, but I know you are brilliant. You are talented. You have unique interests and talents to share with the world, and your desires and ambitions are so important, no matter what they may be.

5. Work toward your dreams.

Credit: Fancycrave -- Pedro Lastra

Don't just sit there! Big ideas can change the world. Life is nothing without taking risks, and you cannot learn if you don't discover. People might judge you, but don't doubt yourself.

6. Make good choices.

Everything you say and do has an impact. The words you say to people in the hallway are listened to. Your presence is acknowledged and seen, not just by me but your peers as well. Keep that in mind and try to be a good influence.

7. Don't quit.

Credit: Pixabay -- kelseyannvere

I don't want you to believe you are not good at something just because you weren't good at it the first time. Keep working on it, and don't give up. I don't want you to go into a new unit choosing to not focus just because you don't understand it.

8. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

Credit: Pixabay -- lindahicks

Don't doubt yourself. Be confident. I want you to be proud of your love for literature and not hide your passions. Don't make decisions to please others. Do what fulfills you. When you shine your light, you will flourish.

9. I care about you, but I also want you to think in the classroom without my help.

Credit: Unsplash -- Afrah

I won't give you the answers, but I will help you learn and figure it out. I care about your success, but I won't be there to hold your hand every single step of the way. I will encourage you to think deeply about those difficult questions to help you think critically and gain knowledge.

10. It'll be a journey, but it will all be worth it.

Credit: Pixabay -- Eli DeFaria

Some days will be some of the best days of your life. You'll spend time with your friends in between classes and after school. You'll have days where learning comes easily to you. Some days will be difficult, and that's how life is. You will be staying up, doing homework or projects, and studying, and I know that can be stressful at times. I understand. I was once in your place.

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50 Things to Do When You're Bored and Completely Alone

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For people like me, spring break is a time where you come home and have absolutely nothing to do. You're parents work all day and you're either sibling-less or your siblings have already moved out. Most of your friends are on the semester system, so your breaks don't line up. You're bored and completely alone.

Although while being alone sounds boring, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with yourself. There is a plethora of unique and creative things you can do. Netflix marathon? That's overdone. Doing something productive or worthwhile? You do enough of that in school anyway. Whatever the reason is for you being alone, I have assembled a list of unique things to do to cure your boredom.

SEE ALSO: 50 Things To Do Instead of Finishing Your Homework

  1. Have a solo dance party.
  2. Teach yourself how to do an Australian accent (or any accent for that matter).
  3. Learn how to play harmonica (or any instrument for that matter).
  4. Buy an at home workout DVD.
  5. Bake a cake (and eat the whole thing for yourself).
  6. Take a rollaway chair and ride it down the driveway.
  7. Paint a self-portrait.
  8. Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  9. Become a master at air-guitar.
  10. Perform a concert (just for yourself).
  11. Write a novel.
  12. Become an expert on quantum mechanics.
  13. Give yourself a new hairdo.
  14. Knit a sweater (if you don't know how, learn).
  15. Make a bunch of origami paper cranes and decorate your house with them.
  16. Make homemade popsicles.
  17. Reorganize your entire closet.
  18. Put together a funky new outfit.
  19. Make a short film.
  20. Try to hold a handstand for as long as possible.
  21. Memorize the lyrics to all of your favorite songs.
  22. Create a website.
  23. Go on Club Penguin and troll a bunch of children.
  24. Become your favorite fictional character.
  25. Become your favorite animal.
  26. Practice your autograph for when you become famous.
  27. Create a magical potion.
  28. Learn a few spells.
  29. Learn how to become a Jedi.
  30. Put the TV on mute and overdub it with your own voice.
  31. Make paper hats with old newspapers.
  32. Become a master at jump roping tricks.
  33. Create music playlists based on random things, like colors.
  34. Find a chunk of wood and carve something out of it.
  35. Find something that doesn't have a Wikipedia page and create one for it.
  36. Create a full course meal based on whatever's in your kitchen.
  37. Teach your pet a new trick.
  38. Take a bunch of artsy photographs.
  39. Make a scrapbook.
  40. Learn a bunch of new words and incorporate them into your speech.
  41. Try to draw the most perfect circle without using a compass.
  42. Make your own board game.
  43. Memorize some poetry well enough so you can recite it.
  44. Build a fleet of sailboats and float them in your bathtub/pool.
  45. Write a song.
  46. Practice picking locks.
  47. Make a drum kit out of random household items and play it.
  48. Draw a tattoo on yourself.
  49. Give yourself a new piercing.
  50. Figure out the meaning of life.
Cover Image Credit: Josh

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy
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Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy

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