As you know if you read my blog “Lost”, I have really mixed emotions about becoming a teacher. Some days I’m excited about it and think nothing could be better. And then some days, like today, I feel like it is the last thing I want to do with my life. It’s on these days, that all the worries I have about becoming a future educator creep into my mind and become all I can focus on. My biggest worry at this moment is finding a school where I fit in, and that will allow me the freedom to teach my class the way I want teach it.
Last semester I took two education courses, one with Jan Seahorn and the other with Christine Aguilar. Both of these professors were absolutely phenomenal and taught me so much about teaching for different types of learners, being creative, and really engaging the whole classroom through different discussions and activities. They showed me how much more enjoyable and interesting class can be when the instructor is able to think outside of the box. In both of their classes, they had us all move our desks to form circles so we were facing each other instead of sitting in rows facing the front of the room. They did this for two reasons: the first, to keep us from getting too bored and checking out during the lecture or lesson plan; the second, to help us really get to know our classmates on a more personal level. Just a little rearrangement of the classroom, and it ended up making a world of difference. I have never been so focused, or engaged in a class in my entire life.
Jan also taught our class a lot about changing from a classroom focused on audible and visual learners, to a classroom that focused on kinesthetic learners as well. Sometimes she would bring giant balls or silly toys for us to play with during lecture to keep our hands busy so we weren’t just sitting still all through class. And it surprisingly helped my concentration immensely. She was so creative with every single lesson plan, and it made me really look forward to the days that I got to attend her class.
This is the kind of teacher I want to be. I want to be creative and out of the box. I want to make the learning environment for my students as beneficial as possible. I want my students to sit in circles rather than staring up at the front. I want to remove all the fluorescent lighting in my classroom and string up Christmas lights instead, (or use lamps with regular light bulbs if Christmas lights are absolutely out of the question.) I want to have class outside in the grass, I want to be able to take my students on exciting adventures and field trips. I want to be able to bring in giant bouncy balls and allow students to get up out of their seats when they feel like they just can’t sit still for another moment. I want all these things, but here’s the problem, most high schools, (I assume), are not going to allow me to do these things. I think it would take a lot of searching to find a high school that permits this kind of behavior within a classroom. And, if I did in fact find a high school that would allow me the freedom to teach however I wanted, I’m afraid I would be judged by the other teachers and people would think I was an unprofessional idiot who doesn’t know the first thing about educating the minds of young adults. I just feel like I would not be taken seriously, and that’s not what I want at all.
I want to be able to teach my class the way I believe they would learn best and not be looked down upon for it, but sometimes I’m just afraid that that is not possible. That’s why I struggle every now and then with knowing if teaching is right for me. Will I ever find a school where I am given complete freedom with my classroom and students? Where I feel like I’m a good fit, and can get along with all the teachers and be respected? I honestly don’t know, but I certainly do hope so.