Before I began student teaching at P.S 149Q, I had doubts about teaching full-time. Not because I didn't like teaching, but because I doubted how effective I would be as an educator. Teachers' whom I've met throughout my journey had always described their jobs as a battlefield, and either ended their days' in victory or defeat. I've seen more defeated teachers than I want to admit, and could not help but feel insecure about my own abilities to make a difference. My mom said once that teaching was like performing surgery, explaining that I had the potential to shape a child's life. As I looked into my students' eyes during my first day of student teaching, I remembered her words of wisdom, and asked myself, "Can I do that?"
I found the answer to that question midway through my student teaching. A student of mine was struggling immensely. My CT and I both knew he needed extensive one-on-one guidance; he seemed aware of that too. As I took him to the back of the room to help him with his math assignment, he had a dejected look on his face. I smiled at him and attempted to make him laugh, to no avail. His shame was like a leak, and it was bleeding from his body. Before I had a chance to say anything, he muttered, "I can't do this. I'm not learning." It wasn't said with heat, only miserable acceptance. I felt it then- a spark of defiance coursing through my body, and I knew that I couldn't let him continue believing that about himself. I turned his chair to face me, and I took his hands in mine. "Anthony," I said, "you have the ability to learn just like everyone else." He shook his head in disagreement. I nodded in return, smiling confidently. "Yes, you can," I continued, "your brain just learns differently from us." He looked at me then, and even though doubt still clouded his eyes, I also saw a glimmer of hope. "Common, lets work together to figure these questions out," I whispered enthusiastically.
One period later, my desk indeed looked like a battlefield- manipulatives and eraser bits covered my entire desk; I was mentally exhausted. But the worksheet was complete, and Anthony was smiling a million dollar smile. "You did it, Anthony!" I said. He nodded and laughed giddily, clapping his hands. My heart burst with the joy and satisfaction of being able to restore Anthony's confidence, of giving him the hope to march onwards in his struggle to learn. That day I learned what teaching was all about- giving students the confidence that they can learn. Anthony didn't know this, but he also helped me realize that I wanted to continue doing that as an educator. While I finished student teaching and am still nervous, I am surer than ever that I picked the right career for myself. Anthony and I won that battle, and I anticipate many more victories to come.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY City College - Bachelor of Education, Education
Reading and walking :)