Now, fast forward to my senior year of high school. I had the opportunity to complete an externship. A certain number of seniors were allowed to leave school early each day to spend time in a job field that interested them. I liked the idea of leaving earlier each day so I applied and was accepted. I thought I wanted to extern at a non-profit organization, but I had trouble finding one. My mom had lots of connections with other teachers in the district, so I decided I would extern in a second grade class.
When August rolled around I contacted my mentor teacher to see if I could help out during the teacher work week. I spent a few afternoons getting to know her while we put the finishing touches on her classroom. I was even able to stay during orientation to meet “our” new second graders. The moment I met my first student, I was smitten. Their nervous and excited smiles warmed my heart, and I had no idea at the time how much these kids would become a part of my life.
When the school year started, I left half-way through the day and drove to the elementary school. Each day that I arrived I was welcomed by a chorus of “Miss Samanthas!” These lasted all year long and I loved it. I helped in any way that was needed whether that was stapling, grading, working with individuals or small groups, and so on. I also went on all the field trips throughout the year. I really treasured those days we were able to get out of the normal school environment.
Each afternoon that I spent with these second graders I learned more and more about them. I learned about their academic strengths and weaknesses. I learned what their favorite subjects were. I learned about who played soccer and who took dance classes. I learned about their family dynamics. It’s cliché to say, but the relationships I developed with these kids were priceless. I felt so privileged to watch them grown and change over the course of an entire school year.
Slowly, education wedged a way into my heart that couldn’t be ignored. I NEVER thought that I would want to be a teacher, and I started to ask God whether He wanted me to pursue elementary education. I distinctly remember writing in my journal my hesitancy as to whether this was His plan or mine. Over the year, He confirmed multiple times that He was calling me to be a teacher. I just knew that this passion was from Him. I talked about my kids all. the. time. My friends heard more than enough stories and I came home every day to tell my parents about the world of second grade. One afternoon, my mom told me that my face lit up every time I talked about my kids and teaching. Her observation meant the world to me.
Throughout my first year in college, I was able to spend time in first, fourth, and sixth grade classrooms. My passion for education has continued to grow stronger and I genuinely love being the classroom. Everything within me knows that teaching will be one of the hardest things I ever do, but I’m meant to fulfill this calling. I’m so thankful that God chose me.
|My sweet second graders...the first class to ever steal my heart.|