Called to Teach

My first three days in the school were full of so many different experiences and observations.  Upon arriving at my school on the first day, I was surprised to see that the school had moved into a new building.  With a traditional school look, the school was equipped with all of the new technology, including SMARTboards in every classroom.  My second surprise was finding out that I would be student teaching a special ed 2nd grade class.  Never really having worked with special ed students I was not really sure what to expect.

Willard Elementary School

At first glance, Room 114 looked like any other 2nd grade class in the building.  Taking a closer look talking, reading, and working with the kids, it was apparent that some had learning disabilities and others were simply very far behind.  When I talked to my mentor teacher about the class being special ed, she explained in detail how her class was the IEP class and how children ended up in her classroom.  Every child had a different story…some had learning disabilities, some had severe behavior issues, and others simple started school late (meaning 2nd grade was there first year in school; the child did not attend kindergarten or 1st grade).

Yesterday (our third day in the schools) I was able to take some time and have a very open conversation with my mentor teacher, Ms. Yeager, about everything I was observing.  The kids had been pretty calm that day and since it was Friday and the end of a review week, Ms. Yeager decided to let them watch a movie.  It was during this time she asked me did I have any questions, did I have any thoughts, and what were my comments on the class or different incidences so far.  Our conversation really helped me process different things I had been thinking since the first day but didn’t really know how to say.

Being in a special ed class with children that have behavior issues really made me realize the monumental task I was taking on by wanting to become a teacher.  I don’t think really realize all of the obstacles we have to face and overcome in order to do our jobs.  As teachers, we have to deal with our students misbehaving and trying to maintain order in our classrooms; if you can’t get control in your classroom then you can’t teach; then you have administration breathing down your neck because you’re not keeping up with the curriculum; then you have parents cursing you out for any number of reasons; and on top of all of that—you have special ed kids that need extra help in order to get back on track, yet you cant give them that help because the whole class is acting up.  In a nutshell, taking into account all the things we have to deal with as teachers, it can be very overwhelming.

In the conversation I had with my mentor teacher, I was able to be upfront with her and share the overwhelming feeling I felt.  Ms. Yeager was straightforward with her comments—“Sometimes you simply have to make it through the day.”  Yes, we all want to be good teachers, but before we are teachers we are also people, we’re not perfect.  There will be times when we’re ready to snap, when we want to give up, and when we want to cry.  And it will be during these times when you find out if teaching is simply a job or if it is your life.  For some people, teaching may be what they want to do and they will probably be very good at it; but for me, I know that teaching is what I am called to do.  

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About Yvonne W
I am a sophomore at Penn State University, Main Campus, College of Education scholar with the intent to major in Elementary Education and minor in Dance.

8 Responses to Called to Teach

  1. Ashleigh M says:

    Yvonne, thank you for sharing this. I am so glad that I am not the only one who was overwhelmed. I seriously started to question whether I wanted to put myself under so much pressure and take responsibility of thirty student’s education. The advice your teacher gave you was very helpful for me as well. I am a perfectionist, and I do not like to fail at something or be wrong. This is not a quality that I always like about myself, but it is part of me that I honestly sometimes just cannot control. But I am beginning to understand and accept the fact that no one is perfect, and even if there are higher powers such as administration putting me under pressure, or parents blaming me for their child’s faults, that I just need to say, yes, I messed up, I need just let it go, move on, and try to prevent it from happening again. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Talia C. says:

      Ashleigh! What is so great about your comment is that you recognize an area where you might need to grow! That is always the first step and I am undoubtedly proud of your ability to see past the quality of perfection and think about how to accept the imperfect! As long as you continue to recognize your “perfectionist” tendencies, you’ll be able to stop them. I am sure you’ll do just fine in the classroom. Continue to learn, be open to change, and always do your best! In the end, everything works out.

    • Yvonne W says:

      I am also a perfectionist at times so I completely understand where you are coming from! Yes, there will be days when not everything gets done and parents are upset with you but it will be ok because you are doing something you love to do. And on top of that you truly do CARE! So even if everything doesn’t get done, its ok! Just remember to take things one day at a time!

  2. Talia C. says:

    Yvonne, I found your last sentence to be extremely inspirational! Oftentimes people just choose a job so they can have a consistent income and not because of their passion. We should all do what we are CALLED to do! I am so glad that you know that being a teacher is your calling and I am confident that you will be a phenomenal educator!

    Now, I am going to sit and and really think about the things I am called to do!

  3. Katie A says:

    First– I drove to Willard last year before the building moved… WOW! It looks beautiful!

    Second– Oh goodness, can K-12 teaching be frustrating and overwhelming! There are days when you just need to get through the day. But that calling, which in its purest essence is love–pure, complete, beautiful love– will keep you going. My hope for you is that every uphill day will provide you with a new realization of love that can sustain you through the most difficult times in your career.

    • Yvonne W says:

      Katie, Yes the building is AMAZING!! I love how you poetically interpreted my blog…That calling, how much we care, is really love! Thank you for your thoughtful and promising comment!

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