Tag Archives: Teaching

On Education

I am so blessed to be able to list all the homework I have to do this weekend. I am so blessed to be anxious over my next AP Calculus test. I am so blessed to feel like the school day will drag on forever. I am so blessed to not be able to sleep because my mind won’t stop taking derivatives. I am so blessed to have to finish a whole book for AP Composition in a weekend.

My mentor once told me a story of how he was in Nepal hiking to the top of a mountain and saw a little boy running the other way. He stopped the boy and asked why he was running. The boy said that from his house up on the mountain it was a two hours run to the school at the bottom of the mountain. The boy said that he didn’t care that he spent four hours going to and from school because he was learning to read.

How could I ever be grumpy or unappreciative that I have homework when children around the world are crying out for education? I am so blessed to have a socioeconomic status where college is almost expected as the next step after high school.

Syrian refugees have said that the thing that they want most for their children is to get an education. The schools in their refugee camps are underfunded and over-packed; yet, the smiles on the children’s faces look as if they were in Harvard.

I believe that education — along with any opportunity in life — can only be used to the full if it is appreciated. And I wanted to say to Education and all the Opportunities you’ve given me, thank you.

And yet there are others in my school who do not appreciate the gift we have been given, which saddens me because then they aren’t fulfilling their potential. Part of their education is wasted on them because they do not appreciate and thus don’t use it to the full.

Other children around the world plead for the chance that seemed to be my birthright. I was born in the United States of America to two white parents both of whom have professional careers. I was born into a life better than most of the rest of the world could only fantasize about. Frankly, most of history could only fantasize about.

And so I thank you Johannes Gutenberg and Horace Mann and John Dewey for making my education possible. I am grateful that from my education I know your names and how much you have done for me and the world.

The education system isn’t perfect; I’ve experienced that first hand. However, if we expect perfection and nothing less, there will be nothing. We should always be trying to enhance what we have, but attaining perfect is like chasing the horizon. We should not settle but we should know when ‘good enough’ is good enough.

I know teachers aren’t perfect; I’ve also experienced this first hand. However, they are the real heroes of this story. They are the one who taught me my letters so that I could write this short essay. And teachers don’t have to be paid educators in schools. My teachers are my parents, my minister, my family, my friends, a stranger on the street.

But I do have to say that my teachers in school have taught me some of my best lessons. The reason why teachers are the real heroes of this story is not because of what they teach out of the textbook, rather what they teach out of their heart. I have learned joy and perseverance and individuality and courage and wonder and faith and community and kindness and laughter and empathy.

Education is not an act of charity but rather an investment in the future. By paying your taxes for public schools, you are investing in the child who will cure cancer one day. You are investing in future firefighters and entrepreneurs and computer programmers and rocket scientists and social workers and nurses and engineers. You are invested in a future. You are investing in hope.

So I just wanted to say, thank you to all of you who have invested in me and didn’t even know me. Thank you for giving me opportunities and hope. I can’t wait to go out into the world and fulfill your investment. I appreciate my education and I will use my education to the full. Please know it will be my joy to one day invest in other children’s dreams and hopes just like you did in mine.

study

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Read This Before Class

 

So many people that I talk to say that they could never be teachers. For whatever reason they give, the students, the grading, the stress; they always end up saying that they would go insane. In Dave Barry’s, yes that Dave Barry, words on reviewing See Me After Class he says “. . . Well, this very funny book proves that you definitely would [go insane]. But in a good way.”

See Me After Class by Roxanna Elden is a humorous teacher self-help book. When Elden started writing this book, she wanted it to be an easy read, amusing and honest and get right to the point. See Me After Class is divided into twenty short chapters focusing on everything from organization and grading to the teacher’s lounge. Elden normally starts with an entertaining, for the reader that is, day-gone-wrong story followed by steps to have the problem, hopefully, never happen again and positive, or negative, stories other teachers around the country have shared. The main direction of the book is how to succeed at all the ‘unseen’ things educators do from the month before school starts to forming a teacher personality to due dates. Elden always makes sure that her advice is not just a little phrase that experienced teachers throw around, but that it actually works and is practical.

My personal favorite part of See Me After Class is Elden’s style and voice. She sets up the book with anecdotes that every teacher can relate to, but never admits to because, “It’s not okay to say, ‘I’m working with kids and I might be bad at it.’” Elden allows this book to be a trustworthy companion after a very bad day, but after reading it, teachers now have the tools to return to their classrooms. Right on the cover it says “Advice for teachers by teachers” which can be clearly seen in “. . . all people who shared their stories in this book went on to become successful, experience teachers. They’re not administrators (who, don’t get me wrong, do important jobs). They’re not counselors (who also do important jobs). They’re not presenters or auditors from a downtown office (who do . . . jobs).”  This means that the advice is practical and other teachers have faced these same problems before and rose above it. As noted before, Elden has broken down the chapter into subtopics with steps to take and more stories. It is teaching, of course, there are always stories!

See Me After Class was written with an audience in mind, obviously teachers or people who are closely associated to education. Beyond that, this book really helps new teachers to have confidence that they are not the only ones with strings of bad days and how to step into the classroom the next Monday. Nevertheless, Elden’s book could strengthen experienced educators’ spirits and classrooms, but new teachers would benefit the most.

As a future teacher, I have read a number of ‘teaching books’ but See Me After Class is the best one yet. It is everything an educator wants insight on and stories that make you smile, laugh and pull out your hair. If books were graded on the 4.0 scale, it would be a 4.0 or in book language 5 stars!

 

see me after class

To My Future Students

The career choice I want to be is a teacher

I want to get my degree in Social Studies and minor in Mathematics teaching at the secondary level

I’ve wanted to become a teacher since I knew what school was

A little four year old me proclaiming that I didn’t want to be a princess, but a teacher

Being a teacher is my absolute life calling

I just know it

Everyone I meet agrees also

I love learning and sharing my knowledge to understand it more myself

I write in the margins of my notes what teaching styles I like or don’t like

I am so happy to see the light bulb click on when I tutor students

I enjoy understanding perspectives and thoughts of students

It pains me so much to see someone struggling when I know that I could help them, but they refuse

But it seems so scary

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I am not taught everything I need to in college and mess up big time?

What if I put a student on the wrong path?

I will be effecting a whole generation

I will be teaching future

Senators

Doctors

Business men and women

Firefighters

Mothers

Inventors

Soldiers

And as much as it pains me to think about it

Wife beaters

Murders

Prisoners

Terrorists

Abusers

I will be effecting their lives when they are so vulnerable

I could never teach elementary

because they are so formable and know not what is right for them

I can remember learning to read and trying to teach five-year-olds to read is unimaginable

I remember that I was adamant that subtraction was not possible

Elementary students look up to their teacher so much

and put so much trust in them that they will be guided in the correct way

What if I can’t?

I’ve been the outcome of a incapable teacher

and been the outcome of the best teacher

who is now a very close friend

I see the major position and power a teacher has over students

Over people

I was born at the very end of the last century

My students will be living into the next

They will be having children in years that right now don’t even sound like a year

They will fight in the next world war and protect me

They will create new laws

They will take care of me in nursing homes

I want to have a positive influence on them

When my former students are in prisoner of war camps

I want them to hold onto hope that I helped instill in them

When my former students are faced with a huge choice

I want them to make the right decision with my help of former guidance

When my former students are tempted

I want them to turn away with my former acts of making the right choice

I will not just be teaching Global Studies,

but I will be teaching life

I will not just be teaching the quadratic equation,

but I will be teaching dedication and opportunity cost through their homework

Going through school is the main point of determining who you are going to become

I am lucky with already having found who I am suppose to be on the inside

Going through tough situations formed my coping and thought process

that will be ready when more troubles comes my way again

But most of my fellow classmates haven’t

They are who they are, but haven’t found who they are ultimately are going to be

When I am a teacher, students will come to me with problems

What if I don’t have the answers?

What if because I found who I am at a early age, I can’t connect with them as easily?

What if I am the teacher that students don’t want to have because I care too much?

What if?

What if?

What if?

To my future students,

I will try my absolute best

And most likely that won’t be good enough

And I’ll try harder

I’ve sat in the seats you are now sitting in

I understand you have lives

I understand you won’t want to do everything that you have to

I understand you may not like me at times

But this is the time in your life when you become who you are going to be

and I want to give you all the opportunities to achieve what is best for you

-Your future teacher

Pixabay/OpenClipartVectors

Pixabay/OpenClipartVectors