July 13, 2006

What initally drew you to teaching?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:58 pm by mrsmauck

So I received this book in the mail yesterday, which will be one of the texts for my English methods class this fall. I read the first couple pages, and the authors want the readers to be very introspective about their teaching journey and style. They suggest that readers keep a journal of their responses and ideas. So, who knows how long this will last, but I’ll go ahead and begin my journal right here on this li’l blog!

Here’s my first reflection, in response to the question the authors posed, seen in the subject line.

I’ve really struggled with this for the last couple days. I remember an existential crisis on the phone with my then-boyfriend (now husband) during the second semester of my junior year of college. The highly structured degree program for language arts education was lying in front of me on my bed, and I was wetting it with my ardent tears of regret and internal conflict (woe was me!). “I can’t, it’s too late now; I just want to graduate and get this over with! This would be an extra year and a half at least!” I couldn’t do it; the long-distance relationship was tough enough already, and I was already getting senioritis. Looking back, I almost wish I would’ve gone ahead and stuck it out. How did I get to that moment of revelation, though? When did teaching first begin to appeal to me? What prompted me to start exploring this other degree plan? I was taking a Fiction Writing class that semester, and I remember really enjoying critiquing my classmates’ work: finding the writing’s fatal flaws and shining moments of perfect prose. My senior year though, I took a class with an inspiring novelist and a talented freelance journalist, and interned for a magazine, so my doubts were washed away in a glorious wave of ambition for being a writer.

My intentions when I graduated were to begin grad school so that I could become a school or youth librarian and a freelance writer. Took the GRE, got accepted to my school, and then decided to delay enrollment for a semester so I could get my real estate license. Hubby was getting into construction hot ‘n’ heavy, and I wanted to be able to help him. In the meantime, I was a part-time secretary at the real estate office where the class was offered. Yuck! By the time January rolled around, I was no longer interested in commuting over an hour for classes at my university, and my passion for librarianship was wearing thin. What was I supposed to do? How about an M.Ed at the school in my hometown, just for fun? I knew I wanted to go to grad school, and I’d minored in English in college, so why not an M.Ed in Secondary English? Sounds good. I start classes, and before I know it, education has hooked me. My History and Philosophy of Education class was awesome: all this reflectiveness on what makes a great teacher and how we can be “relentlessly reflective” and help kids develop higher-order thinking skills. Also, the online discussions with actual teachers were awe-inspiring: their devotion to helping the kids grow and learn and discover. I was enticed with the idea of being an educator, being a motivator, performer, student, artist, and scientist, all rolled into one totally unique, totally irreplaceable figure in a child’s life. At the beginning of the semester, I didn’t have an educational philosophy, but my final paper was that philosophy, and it was fully my own. I believe it with all my heart. At the beginning of the semester, I had only a flicker of interest in education. As I wrote that paper, that flicker burst into flame, and it hasn’t gone out yet. I’ve pasted the abstract of my philosophy below.

Learning is a journey of self-discovery, in which intellect is broadened and talents are realized. Teachers are a guide on this journey, their job being to give students attainable goals that require them to use their existing intellect and gain new knowledge in an educational experience. Students choose whether or not to embark on this journey, and the amount of zeal they will put into it. Their lessons will have applications in today’s society, thereby making them independent thinkers who are also society-minded. A successful journey through secondary education will produce a lifelong learner, critical thinker, and participant in democracy.


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