I am the guardian of lost souls! I am the powerful, the pleasurable, the indestructible Mushu!
….actually, I am the energetic, the ambitious, the apprehensive Amy Alas (also, the girl obsessed with Mulan).
I am a junior English Education student, minoring in Spanish. I love being a student. I love the stress and responsibility, the constant time-crunch, the late nights and early mornings, the extreme caffeine adventures, sacrificing sleep for those spur-of-the-moment escapades with my friends, the unquenchable thirst for information, constant surprises, free-flowing knowledge from peers, professors, strangers and everything else about it. I know exactly who I am as a student; I even know why I am who I am as a student. As an educator, however, I only know who I hope to be.
This summer, less than a month ago actually, I was sitting in my sister’s new classroom helping her prepare for her first group of students and reminiscing about the last five years of her education. Seeing my sister, someone who is painfully good at everything she does, decorate her kindergarten classroom and plan her lessons made me start to think seriously about my career goals. All of a sudden I had no idea if I was following the right path. What an awesome thought to have when I’m already halfway through college, right? After a couple of long heart-to-hearts with my sister, I came to realize a few important things:
#1 I want students to feel passionate about something. It doesn’t have to be English, it doesn’t have to be Science, Math, Social Studies, or anything that has to do with school. I want them to be passionate and I want to be able to take that passion and funnel it into their education. Part of the anxiety that I have about being a teacher comes from knowing how in the world I’d ever be able to do that.
#2 It is just as important, if not more, to make personal connections with students as it is to give them knowledge. As much as you can want to do for them students listen to you as a favor to you. They listen to the teacher out of a feeling of mutual respect.
#3 No one ever goes to work and thinks to themselves “Oh, boy! Another great day of blending right into the walls! I want to provide the bare minimum amount of service that I can for these people who have put their children/ their own futures in my hands!” Nobody wants to just be mediocre every day of their life. Failing at something that only affects you is one thing, but failing a group of people who put faith in you and affecting what they will do after they move on and away from you is scary. There were other ones, but those are the main three that have weighed on me throughout the last several weeks. I want to be an educator- that is a fact. I want to be an inspiration. I want, I want, I want.
Okay, I lied. There is one more thing that has been creeping into my dreams and inadvertently engulfing my daily thoughts. It’s not going to be about what I want. It’s going to be about what they need. That’s the part that scares me the most…it’s also the part that excites me the most. As an educator, I want to meet their needs and help them exceed their own expectations. I want my students to feel comfortable in sharing their insecurities as learners and confident that they will conquer them. I want my students to know that I am comfortable in sharing my own insecurities as a learner and a teacher with them. I want my classroom to be a place for mutual learning. There I go again, with all of my wants. I guess what I want most is to learn how to turn all my wants into “we want” or “they need” and “I’ll do for them.” How I’m going to do it, I haven’t a single clue. But I will, and I’m excited to start figuring it all out.