Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Journey


Ms. Claire Kruger
Student Intern
University of South Carolina
Contact Ms. Kruger

Two years ago, I was completely set on not becoming a teacher. I decided I would complete the Middle Level Education Program at the University of South Carolina and then figure out what I would do next… but it definitely was not going to be teaching. I had fallen victim to the negativity and pressure of entering the education field and could not look past the challenges that clouded my vision of helping shape the minds of young adolescents. I remember sitting in one of my classes during my sophomore year and a professor telling us that we can plan amazing lessons and units now, but when we actually become teachers we will have to follow strict standards and essentially just teach whatever our school or district tells us we have to teach. This broke me down. It made me feel like a robot could do this job and I was better suited for something else.

Flash forward a year to the beginning of my senior year. I was set on just completing this year and motivated by my Bachelor’s Degree at the finish line. I was prepared to enjoy the experience given to me but certainly not prepared to fall back in love with teaching. As soon as I began teaching my own lessons, preparing my materials on my own, and building relationships with the students in the classroom, I was reminded why I originally wanted to become a teacher and had reestablished my passion for this lifestyle. I have had the opportunity to work with two incredible coaching teachers, and didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about teaching, students, education, and myself. I learned to be creative with the standards and build a unit using the standards as a guide, not a script. I learned how to motivate students by allowing them to explore and engage in the real world. I learned that waking up at 6am every morning isn’t really that bad, and a secret stash of chocolate in my desk can get me through practically any challenge or long day.

I have been given incredible opportunities during my internship at Hand Middle School and I’m thankful to every staff member who has welcomed me with open arms and provided me with opportunities to learn and grow throughout this process. The students at this school are a lively and passionate bunch, and I feel lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to learn with them. Someone once told me that being a middle school teacher is not a job, it’s an adventure. I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity to begin my adventure at Hand Middle School and can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next!