Since September 3rd I have been with third graders almost every single day. I have been teaching them math, science, reading, writing, vocabulary, and social studies. They have been teaching me how to be a good teacher and a good person. I have laughed with them, shared stories with them, cried because of them, and felt pride when they accomplished things that they didn't think they could.
For most of my life I have known that I am going to be a teacher. I knew deep down in my bones that it is what I wanted to do. But it wasn't until this experience that I truly felt it is what I am meant to do. I think that I was born to be a teacher.
There have been so many highlights of this experience for me. It is hard to pick just a couple to write about. But I think I will pick my top 3 student teaching moments to share with you.
#3. The Rock Cycle Skit. I recently taught a three week unit on rocks and minerals. This is a topic that is required to be taught in Massachusetts before the sixth grade. I was nervous about teaching it because I don't particularly like rocks or minerals. I don't really enjoy science all that much either. I chose to teach a science unit though to challenge my abilities as a teacher. My unit consisted of 12 actual lessons, some of which took multiple days to complete. We tested minerals for their properties, drew pictures of rocks being formed, and read some very interesting books. The best part though was by far the Rock Cycle Skit. A teacher that I work with wrote this skit a few years ago. It is about Penelope Pebble's journey through the rock cycle. I had a part for every student and they practiced their lines for a few days. Then they spent a week or so designing and creating their costumes. We performed the skit for two second grade classrooms, as well as both the principal and the vice principal. The students were extremely excited and proud of their skit. When we discussed it afterwards I learned that they had learned a ton about the rock cycle too! Seeing their excitement and happiness made me so happy to be teaching this unit with them.
#2. The boy who has autism. There is a boy in the class who is on the spectrum. He also has a little bit of OCD. He is the cutest, sweetest, most challenging little boy I have ever met in my life. When he is having a good day he is such a joy to be around. He can make me laugh and he teaches me new things about space almost every day. When he is in a bad mood it breaks my heart. But there is nothing more rewarding than pulling him out of that funk and into a happy mood. Watching him grow over these past few months has been something I will never forget. I have learned so much from speaking with him and watching colleagues interact with him. If I hadn't gotten to work with him my comfort level with special education would not have been where it is now- and for that I am eternally grateful.
#1. The look on the face of a child who did better than he or she thought possible. There are five or six students in the class who really want to please. They want to do well for their teacher, their parents, and for themselves. The stress that they place on themselves creates some anxiety. They often want me to be right there telling them that they have the right answer as they work on each and every math problem. They are so afraid of being wrong. There are also students who think that because they get one or two things wrong that they aren't good at that subject. It breaks my heart to see third graders saying that they are stupid. I work with these students one-on-one and as a whole class. When I grade their assessments and see that they got a 97% or a 98% I can't help but smile. But the best part is seeing their face when they see their score. "Miss Dean- I got a 98%!" They are so proud and so happy that they could get a grade that good. It almost makes me want to cry. I am so proud of every single one of those kids.
Although my experience is almost over, I have to say that it has been one of the best experiences of my entire life. I will be a better teacher because of these kids and the teachers I have been blessed to know these past few months. I wouldn't trade this for anything else in the world. I am where I was meant to be.