Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Baby Steps

Leading up to final year (aka this year) we have been taking small steps into the teaching profession. At times it has been trying - meaning that when you are observing for an extended period of time it can be difficult to stay awake - but there have also been some key moments that have probably kept many concurrent students on this track to teaching. Through my undergraduate placements I did more teaching than I was "required to do" which led to me teaching about 6 days of a full course load. While it feels like this gave me a taste of it I am sure starting with a full unit in one or two courses will feel completely different. All of a sudden my giant! baby step is to leap into two classes head on in the third day of my placement! I'm pretty excited (beyond just meeting the students and basically watching them do seat work or write a test...).

I was able to make it to my old high school on my way home to stop in and talk to some of the Admin and a few teachers in the math department (ones who taught me and/or were my host teachers at one point). I bumped into a couple of students who had been in the classes I had been a student teacher in and even ran into a girl who was in a class that I was a co-op student in when I was in Grade 12. I always find it fascinating that you can forget the people you've met have moved forward (and gotten older) and made their own baby steps.

It gets me thinking about the impact you can have on someone and the impact that others can have on you - and sometimes not even realize they have for a long time to come! You can think of it as forgetting, but I prefer to believe that realizing what someone has done for you happens right when you need it to - after all, it's the context you learn something in what has the effect, not the lesson itself. I don't think that very many of us consciously realize what life/someone has taught us and I think that even fewer of us ever come to understand it enough to give credit to whom it is deserved. Or maybe I am just way too philosophical on trivial things for my own good.

Either way, I am in my first practicum block of my final year and about to start teaching a set of minds that will affect my future. One day they will be the politicians, doctors, carpenters, electricians, engineers, and lawyers that our society so much relies on. Who's to say whether one individual can really make that much of a difference in a life - but I have to believe it if after 15 years I still want to share my knowledge and love for learning with others. That is to say, it was 15 years ago I realized this dream and that has to be worth something!

Wish me luck!


I knew I had a purpose when I started writing this entry, but of course by the time I got to a point where I wanted to mention this, I could not remember what on Earth it was. My baby step from Wednesday was realizing that I had been so caught up thinking about how I was not going to be teaching in my own environment and would have to use the classroom rules of someone else, that I had not taken the time up to come up with my own, never mind a way to let a class know what they were. So when I was told that I should do what I wanted and let them know what MY rules were I wasn't quite prepared. But I plunged feet first...and it would suffice to say, I survived and will keep rethinking and adjusting those rules and how I presented them. It's definitely something worth putting a lot of effort into (the thinking part!). After all, what's the point of fighting your students on those rules all year when you can get them right from the beginning and have way fewer battles to wage!

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