One week from today, I will officially begin my journey as a student teacher! I am eager to move into my residence in the Near North Side, I’m excited to meet my roommates and the other members of the ACM Urban Education Program, and I am mentally preparing for the results of the Polar Vortex (It was 50 degrees this afternoon in Colorado and 3 in Chicago). However, more than anything else, I am counting the days until I get to meet my cooperating teacher and my future students at Andrew Jackson Language Academy. While it is hard for me to express my emotions in a single sentence, I believe that if I had to synthesize my thoughts they would center on my students. Isn’t that what teaching is all about? I certainly think so.
It is funny how the world works sometimes. I met with one of my favorite high school teachers today and we discussed this very topic. Our discussion centered on the distractions that can sometimes make us lose sight of what our beautiful profession is built on. We forget our mission as educators. Sometimes there can be a lot of noise surrounding the teaching profession, (Standardized tests, differentiation, pressure from outside factions, public opinions about the professions, etc). On some days, this noise can be deafening. However, you can always find sanctuary in your classroom with your students. Some days, it is best to shut you door and focus on the brilliant minds in front of you. Forgetting the outside noise for a moment to enjoy the harmonious sounds of the classroom. Those are the sounds that I am most excited about.
On a professional level, I am also eager to begin working with a group of unique learners. Over the course of the past 3.5 years, I have been preparing for student teaching. My introductory courses laid the theoretical foundation upon which I constructed my instructional framework through my methods coursework. I have built a strong structure of educational knowledge, my foundation is grounded and my framework is strong. I am now ready for my structure to be occupied by my students. I am ready to teach.
Over the course of the past 3.5 years, I have often consulted with my peers about our perceived readiness for student teaching. Admittedly, I was not ready to undertake such an enormous task until now. Returning to my previous analogy, my structure was incomplete. My foundation may have been strong but my framework was lacking. My structure would have collapsed under the conditions of day-to-day teaching. But not anymore. Now I am ready.
It is hard to believe that a few years ago I was beginning my journey into education. Today, I feel confident in my abilities as an educator. The Teacher Education Department at Coe College challenged my preconceptions and pushed my to stretch myself as a teacher and a learner. This approach paid off. After receiving the results and reflecting more on my PRAXIS II testing experience, I felt a heightened sense of confidence in my abilities as a teacher when it comes to my content knowledge. Synthesizing these test results with my background in the Teacher Education Program at Coe, I feel prepared for my future journey as an educator.
Again, I am ready.