Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Academic Career

The other day, I introduced the hippie side of me. Today, I wanted to introduce the student side of me.

I've always loved school. On the outside, I complained about homework and studying, but inside, I really loved it. And my hidden enthusiasm really showed in my grades. The creativity was there from the very start. Art and English were my favorite subjects. I had loved reading since I first learned, so I was always the kid who got caught reading a book hidden inside my textbook.

The love of reading was basically what helped me through the junior high years (1996-9). I went to a Catholic elementary school for 1st through 8th grades, and I wasn't the most social person around (I'm still not). Books were the only friends I needed. In high school, I made some great friends, some of whom I'm still very close with now. English and Art were still my favorite subjects - Honors English with Mrs. Soltis broadened my reading interests, and Advanced Art 3 with Mr. Sears showed me that any creativity is acceptable. Those teachers taught me so much, and awakened my own propensity for teaching. High school graduation (2003) was bittersweet; I had finally found my niche and developed an identity, only for it to be all over.

It was only natural for me to major in English in college and do the Dual Elementary/Special Education program. I had to do student-teaching in my senior year (2006); that was probably the best academic experience of my entire schooling. My first placement was with a self-contained K-3 classroom with 6 kids. I spent most of the time working with the 3 kindergarteners and one 1st grader. I cried, and they cried, on my last day. My other placement with in a 5th grade classroom. It was vastly different than my little kindergarten loves, but just as amazing. They threw me a brilliant party of my last day, and I cried. (The girls did, but the boys didn't want cry in front of their buddies.)

When student teaching was over, I still had another semester of classes before graduation, and it was such a letdown. I wanted to be teaching! I didn't want to be sitting in class, listening to teachers lecture, writing papers, etc. However, by the time graduation rolled around (2007), I had changed my mind. The economy was already starting to sink, and graduate tuition was going up. I saw an ad on campus for a graduate assistant - I could go to class for free, work on campus, and get free housing as well. I was sold.

I began work a month after graduation, and then started the Literacy program in Spring 2008. I could only go part-time because of work, but it's been a great experience. I learn so much every day, and I wish I could stay in school forever. My professors consider me on the same level as them - they say we are colleagues, and we have theory discussions that would have blown my mind just a few short years ago. But all good things must come to an end, as my entire education will in only 4.5 months. As of May 15th, 2010, I will have my Master's in Education. I can't believe it will all be over.

Until then, I'm taking 1 course, and I'm doing my practicum. I'm tutoring for both of those, trying to get as much experience as I can to build up my resume. I'd love to chat with some blogging teachers in the meantime. :)

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