Friday, January 31, 2014

Student Teaching

I was laid off back in February 2011 and although that was one of the worst days of my life, it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had always thought about becoming a teacher (and even attempted to teach Middle School in the South Bronx at one point but good god, that was scary and I lasted less than one semester) but kept finding reasons to put it off. So when I lost my job, I started to think about going back to school and for the past two and a half years, have slowly been chipping away at a Masters in Elementary Education.

Going back to school allowed me to stay home full-time with Nathan, and eventually Ryan too, and go to school in the afternoons and evenings. My parents have watched the kids for every single one of my classes and Will has done weekend duty while I have spent hours reading through textbooks and writing papers. Without them, I never could have completed my program.  I have taken all 10 courses and passed all of my licensing exams so now the last step before graduating is a semester of student teaching. Full-time teaching means full-time childcare for the boys though so I had to enroll them in full-time daycare. I've been home with Nathan since he was 10 months old and with Ryan since the day he was born. Sending them to daycare 5 days a week for 8 hours a day has been a huge adjustment for all of us and we've experienced lots of meltdowns (from both the kids and me) and even a sick day already.

We are slowly adjusting to our new routine and although I do not like being away from my boys so much, the good news is that I love, love, love being in the classroom so that makes it all a bit easier to handle. I am in the first grade and I love everything about it so far. My coordinating teacher has 10 years experience and I can already tell she will be a wealth of knowledge for me and the kids are so sweet, I already feel attached to them. I taught my first lesson yesterday, how to write the lowercase e, and led a community meeting this afternoon, teaching them that school is a safe space where they should always feel welcome and accepted. Next week I will take on the morning meeting and read aloud each day. Each week I will take on more responsibility and the goal is that for the last few weeks of the semester, I will have total control of the class.

In addition to teaching full-time, I will attend a weekly seminar as well as build an extensive portfolio of lesson plans and assessments. It's going to be a LOT of work and an extremely busy 3 months but I'm up for the challenge. After I graduate in May I will most likely look for part-time work until the boys are older but for now it's full-time whether I like it or not. I have made myself a countdown sheet, which hangs in my kitchen, over a bottle of wine and I'm hoping that will get me through the really tough days.

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