March 28: It has been quite a weird week! PSSA testing has been going on, and my co-op had to proctor the tests every day. So in the music room, there was a sub and myself teaching all week. It was a good experience for me, to teach with someone else’s plans and to get to know the kids, but I’ll be happy when things get back to normal. Due to being sick on both my and my co-op’s part, I really haven’t gotten to see her teach all that much yet! And I’ve only taught a few classes from my own lessons (the rest of the time we’ve been doing filler stuff with the little ones to pass the time), and my first observation is on Monday with kindergarten! Yikes.
Working at the elementary school is not what I expected. I expected to really love it, and for it to be creatively fulfilling and wonderful and fun all the time. Well, being an elementary teacher is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m enjoying it, and I think I’ll enjoy it more when things are normal next week, but it hasn’t been easy. The kids are wonderful little humans, and sometimes I do love it. Like yesterday, when I was teaching kindergarten, we were singing “This Little Light of Mine.” We made up motions and I was playing guitar, and they were singing so well. Then I went around and let each kid strum the guitar as I changed the chords, and they got such a kick out of doing that. I almost got teary-eyed as I was walking around the room. I loved their energy and their excitement and their joy at doing something so simple like singing and strumming a guitar.
But sometimes it’s tough. Having good classroom management is such an important thing to have, and some kids are really hard to work with. In elementary school, you also have to be constantly aware of the kids’ safety, and never turning your back on them. Something that I didn’t even think about it is what’s on Youtube advertisements when you’re showing a clip or playing a piece of music. My co-op says she knows of an ex-teacher who got fired because of an ad that was on the screen that was inappropriate for kids.
April 1: I didn’t have time to finish what I started last week and I have no idea what else I was going to write, so I’m just going to keep going…
Sunday was my 22nd birthday! It was really normal, basically just like any other day. I worked on lesson plans, went for a run, cooked dinner, talked to my mom – super exciting stuff here people. I’m not a huge birthday person. Even as a kid, I was never big on parties or celebrating. But I can hardly believe that I’m 22! I don’t feel any different yet, but I know that 22 is going to be a big year for me. It means graduating from college, and (hopefully) finding and starting a job!
Yesterday was my first observation at the elementary school, and it went really well! I wasn’t sure how it would go, because the group of kindergarteners in the class are kind of a rowdy bunch and it’s a big class. But they were really well behaved and my supervisor had some very nice things to say about my teaching! She said to me, “Monica, one thing I notice about your teaching, from here and the high school, is that you are fearless. Nothing rattles you, no matter what happens in the classroom.” Well, that’s probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about my teaching. I don’t always feel cool and collected, but I’m glad it appears that way!
I was so tired yesterday. In addition to my observed class, I taught three other 40 minute classes that day. And, I have a super long musical practice at my first placement. Their show is this weekend! I think it’s going to go well, but this week is going to be tough to get through. I didn’t get home until 9:30 last night, and I had to wake up at 6:30 so I can do it all over again! But, really, I have it great. I don’t have to be at school until 8 every day – it could be so much worse! I know lots of people who have to wake up at 6 or earlier for their placements, so I’m pretty lucky.
Once this week is over, my life will get infinitely less crazy. I love what I’m doing with the musical, but I’m going to be so relieved when it’s over. I can’t say I’ll mind getting home at 4:30 every day once this is finished! My parents are coming up this weekend to see it, so it’ll be nice to spend some time with them. I haven’t spent hardly any time with them since Christmas, because every time I go home for drill it’s always such a quick visit it doesn’t even count! And I’m always so tired that I’m not even very good company!
I recently had a revelation, and I’d like to share it here. Up until about a few days ago, I had no idea what level I wanted to teach. I just loved being at the high school, and I really like the elementary kids, and I hadn’t been able to decide what I really wanted to do! Back when I was in high school, I did an internship at my district’s middle school with their band program. Ever since then, I had written off teaching middle school because while I enjoyed my experience, I couldn’t see myself dealing with that age level because it seemed frustrating and very difficult. So for the past four years, I’ve written off teaching middle school completely.
But then I thought to myself, “What kids did I really connect with at my first placement? Why did I like it so much?” The school is a 7-12 school, so I was working with a wide variety of ages. And once I thought about it, I realized that the kids in 7-9 are the ones who really liked me, and I really liked them a lot. The older kids were fine and I enjoyed teaching them, but I just had such a blast working with the junior high kids.
God works in such funny ways. Here he showed me all those years ago that I didn’t want to teach middle school (and I was such a different person when I taught in HS, but I never re-considered my decision to NOT teach middle level), but this whole time if I would’ve even thought about it I would’ve found it to be something I really like! I’m not saying I’ll end up teaching middle school, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of it and the more it feels right. I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about what’s going to happen after graduation, and these thoughts just fell right into my head. How can I NOT be thinking and praying about what’s going to happen after graduation? Everywhere I go, people are constantly asking me, “So what are you going to do after you graduate? Are you applying for jobs? Where are you going to live?”
I just want to yell at everybody, “Stop asking me that!” Because I have no idea what’s going to happen! It’s really quite scary, and everybody pressuring me is not helping at all. So you could say it’s been on my mind a lot lately. But here God has given me some peace of mind and hopefully some answers to settle my heart. I’m just going to keep teaching and praying and hoping, and I think it’s going to work out just fine.