Two summers from now I’ll hopefully be prepping and planning for my very own classroom. Woah! The classroom that will become a home away from home for a group of students. The privilege and responsibility of that is huge and is something that’s always in the back of my mind as I get closer to that classroom. I have no idea where I’ll be teaching. America or overseas? Private or public education? I just know that my heart is to be in the classroom. My passion for elementary education surprises me sometimes because I can truly say that I never dreamed of being a teacher. Now I can’t imagine pursuing anything else.
But there are moments when I question whether my passion for teaching will stand strong once I’m finally in my classroom and I have 20 faces looking to me day after day. As the daughter of a teacher, I know fully that teaching is so much more than just having a group of students sitting around your rocking chair during story time…
You have a group of very diverse students dependent on you. Students with a wide range of abilities and learning styles. Students that each come with very individual background stories and specific needs. The strengths and weaknesses represented in your classroom are limitless. Not to mention the disabilities that can be present and as the teacher you’re responsible for differentiating instruction so that every child learns the material. There are Common Core Standards that you’re responsible for having your kids master because they will be tested. And you will be judged as a teacher by how well or poorly your kids perform. Then there’s behavior management which is so critical and can be oh so challenging. You have some students that teach you more about patience than you ever wanted to learn.
On top of the teaching, you have faculty meetings, grade level meetings, bus duties, etc. There are days of professional development. You may sponsor a school club or be asked to organize the Relay for Life team at your school. You work to communicate with parents by making phone calls, setting up conferences, responding to emails. You work with the special education teachers to figure out ways to best help the students that you share. You’re an advocate for your students because sometimes you’re they only one willing to do so. As a teacher, you willingly spend your own money to make your classroom the best it can be. You spend your own money to buy supplies and activities to hopefully make learning fun and tangible for your kids. You get to school early to prep for the day and are often there long after the kids have gone home. You spend your Sunday evenings planning and weeknights grading. You wake up in the middle of the night worried about your student that doesn’t come from the happiest home.
I’ve barely scratched the surface but thoughts like these are what fill my mind as I work toward becoming a teacher. Even knowing the responsibilities that come with being a teacher, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. It will be one of the hardest things I ever do, but my heart is to be in the classroom. My heart is for the kids that will enter our classroom day after day. It’s my passion to keep growing and learning so one day I can be the kind of teacher they deserve.