About Me

I do not truly remember a time when I did not dream of becoming a teacher.  While most of my classmates were imagining themselves becoming racecar drivers, the president, or rock stars when they grew up, all I ever wanted to do was teach.  Ever since the first day of first grade, when I came home and told my mom that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up, I have been determined to fulfill that dream.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Walker, had so much excitement, so much passion for what she did.  To me she was inspiring in every way, and I wanted to be just like her.

Growing up, I participated in all the activities in which one would expect a future teacher to partake.  As a small child I enjoyed playing “school” and acting as the teacher.  Throughout my early elementary years I attempted to teach my younger sister whatever it was I was learning in school; whether it was reading, cursive, or multiplication.  One summer I even set up a school in my basement and recruited my five-year-old neighbor to be the sole student, although that endeavor was very short-lived due to the boy’s understandable disinterest in spending his summer acting as a student.  As I got older, my weekends and summers were often spent babysitting, being a nanny, and being a camp counselor.  In high school I tutored a middle school student and throughout my senior year I volunteered a few times a week in a first grade classroom, where I was actively involved in classroom learning experiences and was able to offer significant contributions to the first graders’ progress throughout the year.  Seeing how much the first graders changed and grew, and watching how much they learned during that time, convinced me that teaching must be the most rewarding profession there is.

The following Fall I began my freshman year Albion College, excited to begin earning my degree in elementary education with an English major.  Although I was unable to begin taking education classes until my sophomore year, I continued to be involved in the public schools.  During my longer breaks I would return home and volunteer in the first grade classroom, watching a new group of students learn and grow throughout the year.  Though my Women’s Studies class, I had the opportunity to mentor underprivileged middle school girls in Albion, which was difficult at times, but also incredibly rewarding.  Initially many of the middle school girls expressed very limited interest in going to college; however, by the end of the semester, after various activities which promoted self-esteem and the encouragement provided by the college students, the majority of the middle school girls expressed interest in continuing their education.  Last year I encountered one of the girls, now a high school freshman, who had participated in the club.  Upon seeing me, she ran up to me and gave me a hug, stating, “I just wanted to let you know that I can’t wait to go to college and become a teacher, just like you.”  Her comment made my night.

Once I entered the education program at Albion, I found myself surrounded by incredibly supportive professors and other pre-service teachers who were just as passionate about teaching as I was.  I also gained invaluable classroom experience.  However, although my field experiences made significant contributions to my professional development as a teacher and I enjoyed getting to know my placement teachers and the students I worked with, none of them quite made me feel as though I was an integral part of the classroom, as I did during my year with the first graders.  I feel as though the primary reason for this is because when I worked with the first graders I was in the classroom multiple days a week for an entire year, allowing me to truly connect with and get to know the students.  Although it is possible to gain valuable and important experience within twenty hours of classroom experience, it is difficult to make more substantial connections in this short period of time.

Student teaching, of course, changed that.  Throughout the course of a semester I had the opportunity to see my second graders grow in all aspects of their lives…academically and socially.  I had the opportunity to not only learn about and truly get to know each of them, but I also was given the amazing opportunity to learn from each of my students.  Everything about my student teaching semester – even the challenging portions – reaffirmed my dream of being a teacher.

Since graduation I have been subbing, primarily in the Walled Lake School district, and tutoring in English Language Arts evenings and weekends.  Most recently I was hired as Molly Scheck’s long-term sub in first grade at Wixom Elementary.  I began in February, and remained there until the end of the school year.  This long-term position was a tremendous opportunity for me, providing me with the ability to create and implement lessons that are engaging and authentic for my students, and to differentiate my teaching to meet their needs.  While subbing has been an invaluable experience, I am excited to work in a classroom I can call my own, where I can challenge, motivate, and inspire my students daily.

People always ask me why I want to become an elementary school teacher.  It’s a question I’ve been asked for almost as long as I’ve known what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve really known what to say.  The answer seems obvious: I want to make a difference.  Teachers, especially elementary school teachers, are some of the most important individuals in a child’s live and have the potential to truly influence that child’s life.  However, my dream of becoming a teacher transcends my desire to make a difference.  Put simply, I love teaching.  I love the desire to learn that young children bring to a classroom; I love seeing the moment of recognition on a student’s face when he or she finally understands a concept that has been exceedingly difficult for that child; I love watching the students’ excitement when they are engaged in learning something which relates to their interests.  Mostly, I love knowing that, although there will certainly be many challenges in this profession, I have the ability to foster all the things I love about it.  As a teacher I will be able to make a difference while doing what I love most.  Who could ask for anything more?

Thumbs Up?

Embedded informal assessment, to determine if students "get it."

Assisting a student with a math assignment.