Sooner than I think, it will be May, and I will have graduated. Which sounds like a great accomplishment in my eyes, however, now I’m thrown into the world of really not knowing. Potentially, I could live in any city I wanted granted there’s a job in my near future that throws some cash my way. School has always bound me, secure. Now, everything has a giant question mark over stamped on top.
Last semester I enjoyed a student teaching placement in DeWitt, Michigan. My mentor teacher was an inspiration and I absolutely loved the controlled chaos of that classroom. Sixteen weeks were spent in her Early Childhood Special Education classroom. For sixteen weeks she took me under her great big teaching wing and showed me effective strategies to connect with children, parents, and other staff, all while have a (mostly) positive and go-getter attitude. Sure, there were days where we looked at one another and sighed as if agreeing that there’s really no goal for the day other than to keep some of the more emotional unstable children from blowing up. And that was okay. It was okay when things didn’t go as planned, we were always adapting our days to fit the needs of the children, which leads me to my current placement in a Gen. Ed. Preschool in Holt, Michigan.
For eight weeks I will be part of a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) preschool. It’s an income-based preschool that provides the children with breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Instruction is based on child interest. In large group, the students are encouraged to share their own messages instead of the teacher being front and center. This classroom is colorful, has ample materials and centers for the students to explore, and they provide children and families with a pre-school opportunity they might not have had otherwise. This program is important. This classroom’s chaos is a little bit less controlled, but just as informative for me.
In a quick eight weeks, once again, I will pick up my backpack and put on my College Intern badge as I walk back into the first school I spent 16 weeks in. This time, eight weeks will be dedicated to a classroom of first graders, eager to learn, and ready to participate. Going from preschool to first grade, I’m expecting some more challenging academic lessons for the students, and for me. I know that I know how to add and subtract numbers, but I don’t know that I know how to explain that process to a classroom full of first graders. Thankfully, I’m going to a familiar school with some familiar faces that would be more than willing to help me out if need be.
This whole process of becoming a teacher has been one helluva ride. Now what’s next?