This is going to be a jumble but just roll with it
This is my third attempt to write a reflective blog on my experiences, so it is going to be a combination of all three.
How did I get here?
Well, last spring when we were deciding what cooperating centers we were going to go to, I sat down with a good friend of mine. We looked at the list of schools and he circled between 5 and 10 of the places he thought I would do well at. I then decided what I WANT in my cooperating center and what I thought would help me GROW and SUCCEED. So, my two requirements were a multi-teacher department since I came from a one teacher department, and the opportunity to teach agricultural mechanics since I am not very strong in that area. I sent my emails out and waited for the responses. When I got one back from Mrs. Alexandra Barzydlo, I knew that was probably the place I was going to go. The response to my email was long, detailed and well thought out. I felt that if someone would go through that sort of effort to just email me back, then they would go through the same effort to make sure I succeeded during my student teaching experience, and boy, was that gut feeling right!
My first day teaching, I got a class that I started the first day of their new semester, so they didn't have Mrs. B as a teacher at all. I was going through my consequences and told them that they better listen up or else Mean Jeanne...uh I mean Mean Ms. Case will come out. At that moment, I realized that the transition had to occur. I was not a facilitator of workshops or a camp counselor, I was a teacher, a totally new role for me!
There was a lot of ups and downs with student teaching. The first week having a full teaching load just about killed me. It was when my first three weeks of lesson plans had about run out, the Ag Mechanics students were testing me, and ahh so many things to organize at once! And going into this student teaching experience -- organization was one thing I absolutely HAD to work on. A positive, is that my students did think I was really organized and they kept calling me little Mrs. B. Honestly though, the downs weren't really downs.. they were there to push me and for me to see how strong I was. There would be some days I was frustrated and tired, but there was never a day I didn't want to be there. The STUDENTS were why I wanted to be there. I worked my butt off in ag mechanics (one of my more scary classes content wise) and it really paid off.
Another down was learning about some teacher perceptions of their own job. While, it was not really in the agricultural or technical department, those that I choose to have lunch with kind of had a negative outlook on their job which was something I struggled with. I was confused as to why they would choose a job then complain about it constantly. But, that just taught me that I need to block out the negativity of other people and focus on what makes me happy.
For ups....there are way too many and will be listed below for my "don't blinks".
Being in a multi-teacher department I had many people to converse with. Mrs. B was always there to lend an ear and give suggestions without being over bearing. She was really good at just letting me TRY things, then talking about if they worked or not. Mr. Stollar was very helpful with horticulture and ag mechanics. He had no problem running through things with me and making sure I knew how to explain the content or use the tools. Everyone was always so SUPPORTIVE and wanted me to have a great experience while I was there.
Overall, this was a phenomenal experience and I could not imagine being anywhere else. The students were seriously the best. They helped me out so much, even staying when they could have left for work release to help with an engine problem, or standing up for me and making other students listen, or just teasing me to make me smile. The students are above par. The teachers are awesome. It was a very good environment for me to be in with everyone wanting to make sure I was getting a good experience. Everyone had a different role in my success and it really helped to shape how my semester went.
Now, since I really like music, and this is what popped into my head the second time I tried to write this... here is a list of "Don't Blinks" inspired from the song "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney.
Or you will miss out when you already have to say goodbye to one of your first classes.
Or you will miss out when they have given you a nickname that sticks. CaseMiss, Ms. Snapchat, CASE, and Mini Mrs. B.
Or you will miss watching your hooligan boys act mature at the ACES dinner.
Or you will miss when the whole entire mentality of a class changes from who the heck is this teacher making us do math, to hey this student teacher is pretty cool, I guess we want her around.
Or you will miss when a student you were nervous about having asks you for help for a very important application.
Or you will miss watching your students grow and mature and can see leadership qualities in others besides their friends.
Or you will miss the development of #bestfriend and #rolemodel
Or you will miss out on the opportunity to interact with some of the females through horseback riding
Or you will miss out on watching hostile individuals soften up and learn how to trust you.