Since I was 7 or 8 years old I’ve wanted to be a teacher. My whole life was school, I pushed myself to do well and took pride in my grades. I started working with kids when I was 11. In high school I took classes that helped me understand child development and how it relates to teaching.
I went to a college with a very strong education program and gained experience in the field. I had barely started that journey when I was first questioned as to whether I was a good fit for this program. However, I was not about to let anyone deter me from what I felt was my calling when they were supposed to be teaching me. As I continued, I faced some struggles managing the stress of the expectations. I am a person who likes to hold very high expectations for myself. The balance between coursework and field performance became very taxing. I tried not to make a big deal of it because all of my classmates felt the same way. There was some consolation in that fact. However, I felt that I was being challenged and growing. My nature is typically reserved and performing as a teacher was out of my comfort zone, but a necessary step. I tried to stay positive, to reach my dream-to reach kids.
When I reached student teaching, it was taking on the full responsibilities of a classroom teacher. It’s training via immersion and no room for errors. I ate, breathed, and slept school. I could not use any brain space for anything else-sometimes hurting my roommates. I tried my hardest and knew most of what was expected of me. But it’s what I didn’t know that started to create problems. I didn’t know how to talk to my “mentor” teacher (if you can call it that) when she didn’t talk to me. I didn’t know I should’ve gone to my supervisor when I couldn’t communicate with my “mentor” teacher. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong in time to fix it. In the eyes of those who were supposed to be teaching me, I was missing the mark- BIG TIME. When small things started to slip because I had been sick since the beginning of the semester, and crazy stressed I didn’t think it was a big deal. Everyone is allowed small mistakes, right? I had heard from my peers that this or that happened but they were fine. In my case, that was not fine. They teamed up on me and came down on me hard without warning. Out of the blue I went from thinking things are not great but ok to realizing I was in big trouble and I didn’t know how or why. That stress snowballed into more mistakes which led to more critical critiques.
I ended up having to defend myself in a room of collegiate *insert fancy collegiate supervisor of education name* people. I explained my side of everything that had happened. That I was weeks away from graduating and deserved a second chance. They were skeptical but I was given that chance and still things did not go smoothly. I fought through more tears and sleepless nights for those last few weeks trying to keep myself together. When I graduated I was so relieved and proud yet I had some healing to do. I was not ready to settle into my dream job at my dream school with my dream students because I had been told that even though they were “letting” me graduate, that I couldn’t do it. More than anything I wanted to throw it in their smug faces and say “WATCH ME!”