When I first started my undergraduate career, which seems like it was back in the dinosaur age; I was a Secondary Education Social Studies major. I cited my sophomore History teacher in high school as the man who had given me the inspiration. He crafted unique assignments and intriguing ways to conceptualize in the historical events we were covering and it brought the events to life and helped make the material far easier to learn.
Upon the arrival of my senior year of high school and applied to colleges, I decided to go with what made the most sense and applied as a Social Studies Secondary Ed major. I loved history and felt as a social person teaching would not be that hard to tackle. As my first semester of college moved along things changed quickly and if I’m honest to this day I still cannot tell you why. I still liked history but I was less and less sure I wanted to teach. By midterms, I made up my mind and officially changed my major to History, foregoing the education the path.
The plan from that point on was after my undergraduate career was to continue to pursue graduate school and see where it led me. Through, four years of undergraduate classes I saw a vast array of different teaching styles and likewise different classes of students. Somewhat subconsciously, I paid attention to these classroom atmospheres and logged them away in case I ever found my way teaching in front of a class.
Then 5 years after first enrolling in college I found myself granted the opportunity to try out the career I bailed on so early in my college career, teaching. As part of my Master’s Degree, the deal was I’d teach a few English classes along the way. While, teaching English was never part of the original plan, I decided to make the best of it and see where it takes me.
A year and a half later, I just recently said goodbye to my last group of students, at least for now, and I can wholeheartedly say this experience has truly been amazing. I wasn’t sure how it would go at first but luckily for me I’m an adaptable and creative person and I think that is what helped me in the early days of the classroom.
It was this last group of kids though, and fittingly so, that really left a lasting impression on me. They were by far the most active and intriguing group of students I had the opportunity to interact with. Possibly, the best part of it all was the relationships they formed together in the classroom and that made for a friendly environment. Perhaps the best part was they even laughed at my jokes!
While my teaching style may be somewhat unorthodox because of my willingness to try a whole batch of different assignments in class there were times I wondered if I was giving them the best educational experience. However, as I look back at the stuff they produced in the beginning and their stuff at the end, it was an encouraging comparison. The thing is though that these kids learned so much more than just improved writing skills, some of these lessons I hoped they would take away and others were just unexpected byproducts of our varied discussions.
My students weren’t the only ones who learned though, as they taught me loads of information too, and I think that is the best kind of student-teacher relationship a teacher can ask for. I learned that if you give them an inch of creativity they can take it a mile, and boy did I get the opportunity to travel several miles of interesting creativity this semester! When I realized this week was the first time in 17 weeks I would not see them at least once, I knew we had made our own little family in that classroom.
I can only hope that I made some kind of an impact in their lives as they did in mine, because I truly feel like one of the luckiest teachers to have the opportunity to teach these kids. And even though this group of kids were unforgettable, they surprised me with one last anecdote that I’ll never forget as long as I live.