Prairie Village$20/hr | < 1 yr experience
The things that have made me want to become a teacher are the experiences that I have had working with children. My senior year of high school I served as the pilot student for a student teaching internship at the sister elementary school next door to my high school. xx, the principal of the elementary, thought I would make a good teacher and wanted me to serve as the first intern and help her initiate the program. Through collaboration with teachers, she designed an internship program that was structured in the last class hour of my day. This allowed me to receive class credit while receiving mentorship from teachers in the classroom setting.
For the first semester of my senior year, I spent two weeks in every grade for an hour a day. I was allowed to choose from three different classrooms in each grade level. During my two-week time in each grade, I would write notes about my experience in a journal. I would also teach a subject once a week. Throughout the week, I would work on the lesson plan for the subject then present it to the classroom teacher for review before I taught the subject. Many of the teachers encouraged me to use lots of creativity and invent games to teach the lesson. I really enjoyed this!
The second semester, I was allowed to choose which class I wanted to spend the remainder of my internship in. I decided to spend it in a second grade class with an exceptionally gifted teacher. I learned so much watching her structure the lessons and classroom culture. Finally, I was required to initiate a project on my own. So I started an after school club called xx for second grade girls.
I learned so much about teaching during this year! I learned about the different grades and their variety in curriculum as well as different teaching techniques dependent on each grade and teacher. I also learned how to write a lesson plan and how to teach it, as well as what it means to be an effective teacher. In the beginning of the year I had trouble engaging the students, and by the end I had improved on these things by trial and error and had really begun to develop as an intern.
In the summer before my second year of college, I experienced diversity in a personal way. I went to El Salvador for two weeks with a group of college students. There, we served at various schools in both the city of San Salvador, El Salvador as well as the county provinces. We re-painted the school walls and taught in the classrooms. Many of the children in the countryside had never seen someone from North America. I got the opportunity to experience the difference in cultures between El Salvadorian schools in the country and in the city and also from the classes I had taught my senior year of high school in Missouri. I learned how to respond to children of different cultures. I had to become a student of their culture so that I could understand who they were and what their home lives were like. In order to relate to them, I had to immerse myself into understanding what effects extreme poverty had on their ability to learn. In striving to do this, I came to respect their lifestyles and their unique challenges. They ended up teaching me as much as I taught them.
During the school year my second and third year at the University of Kansas I participated in America Reads about three hours a week at local Lawrence schools. This opportunity really helped me to get a feel for many different classroom environments. I was placed in a very diverse 5th grade class one of the semesters. The majority of these students were behind grade level. I really enjoyed encouraging them to enjoy learning as well as being a positive influence in their day.
The summer before my third year at KU afforded me a uniquely different kind of teaching experience. I worked at xx on the lake crew over a six-week period. I drove a boat and taught campers age seven to eighteen how to waterski and wakeboard. I had about an hour and a half to teach eight kids, and I had multiple groups throughout the day. I drove the boat, taught and entertained the campers, and made sure everyone was behaving. I definitely learned how to multitask.
I learned how to help campers overcome apprehension, get excited about learning and how to keep order while doing it. This experience taught me what perseverance means! I was in the hot Arkansas sun twelve hours a day, six days a week. I got very tired and worn out. However, I could not just decide to stop working when I was in the middle of a huge lake with eight kids. It was a big responsibility because boating can be very dangerous. You cannot make one mistake when given the dangerous task of a boat driver and instructor. I learned how to be self-sufficient, independent, and a leader.
The summer before my fourth year at KU I was a teaching assistant at xx in Overland Park, KS. I was in a classroom of students going into third grade who had been behind the previous year in second grade. The second half of the day I switched around being in charge of different clubs. I was in charge of the baking club, yellow school bus club, swimming club, and multiple others. This really gave me a sense of the classroom. It was great to be in the classroom after taking education classes because I was really able to apply my knowledge. The head teacher of the classroom I was placed in allowed me to teach lessons periodically to get practice.
The summer after my fifth year at KU I worked at xx Center as a Summer School Teaching Assistant. Here I was able to get more experience in classrooms of early childhood students. Helping to manage the classroom and observe the creation of the lessons let me see first hand how instruction differs in the early childhood and lower elementary grades.
My first student teaching experience in second grade at xx caused me to challenge myself in many aspects. I was pleased to attend the week and a half of teacher conferences, assist in the preparing of the classroom for the school year, and greet and get to know the parents at back to school night. I was involved in the creation of long-range plans for the year as well as the creation of a new schedule. It was also the first year that my students were given one-to-one iPads. This allowed me to be involved in the process of implementing and transitioning technology into the classroom. I was given the task of helping to set up the student’s iPads as well as teaching them how to use them. Incorporating this technology into my lessons allowed me experience and learn the correct way of completing this task. It also taught me to use technology as an aid and enhancement to lessons rather than a replacement for instruction. I also implemented the Daily Five reading program into the class and incorporated the iPads into their stations. This allowed me to apply my technology courses from KU and become technologically fluent in the classroom. The classroom that I was placed in had a very wide range of learning levels, which forced me to become skilled in differentiation. The classroom also offered me many behavioral challenges, which caused me to develop and perfect my classroom management skills.
My involvement in the xx sorority throughout my career at the University of Kansas taught me many things. It taught me to be reliable as well as how to get along with and work with many different types of people. It instilled a habit of giving back to the community as well as a desire to place a high value on philanthropy in my life. My involvement in the xx of Lawrence, KS showed me the importance of groups for children outside of pure academia.
During my time at KU I have been able to be academically successful as well as gain many valuable experiences teaching. I believe that my drive to get as much teaching experience while at KU combined with my Academic performance will aid in my desire to strive to continuously grow as an exceptional educator.
These experiences have taught me many quality lessons and have tested my resolve to become a great teacher one day. Each experience has taught me a different aspect of teaching. Combined, they have helped me better understand what is necessary to teach. It has also made me realize how much more there is to learn. I am eager to become the kind of teacher that makes a lasting difference in the lives of students.