Called to Teach
May 22, 2011 8 Comments
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.
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.