Happy one year.

As the impending snow begins to fall, it’s humbling to think of all of the student teachers, the pre-service educators, beginning their careers today. One year ago on this very day, I was in their shoes.

I can remember my first day as a dragon so distinctly. I was wearing a laced maroon top with those professional black pants and cushioned flats. I felt like I was ready to take on the world, even though I knew that I had no idea what I was in for.  I jumped back and forth between reading and language arts and met a slew of children who stared with wide eyes as a new adult entered their rooms. While surrounded by male teachers, I had to make my presence known. I met some great people and learned some valuable things. From two days spent in eighth grade reading and language arts to being welcomed into my new home in 7-5, my start was exciting and full of expectations. Dawned in a bright yellow cardigan, I made my extravagant introduction to my seventh graders on a Friday; some giggled, but most stared. It was going to be a long road to graduation.

Five months brought me many tears, changed plans, and reevaluations of the teacher I wish to become. From the students that I thought I could never reach to the students that reached me, it was a learning experience. Of all the beacons of wisdom that student teaching had bestowed upon me, the most important lesson learned was the value of positivity and believing in others as well as yourself. I can’t say for certain that I had reached every student or changed them for the better. All I can say is that each of them had taught me something and left their mark on my career and in my heart.

One year later, I’m a full time dragon teaching sixth grade reading. Because of the work that I had done one year ago, someone saw something in me. Someone believed in me enough to take a chance on me, and I am where I am today because that someone knew I could do it. My student teaching experience wasn’t perfect by any means, but I have come to a realization: it may not have been the experience that  I had expected to have, but it was certainly the experience that I needed. I’m a sixth grade dragon because of it. I will always cherish those five months with that incredible staff and those amazing kids, so on this one year anniversary, I will be thinking of them.

A lot can change in a year. Steven Chbosky was right. “Things change and friends leave, and life doesn’t stop for anybody.” In that ever changing life, though, there is so much good, and over the past year, there has been so much good. This past year has brought me to the greatest job I could have ever dreamed of with the most amazing colleagues and students.

Hold tight to those dreams, friends. They really can come true.
Ms. Sentimental

An additional and extremely important note:

Happy one year to my zombie family, without whom I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. We spent nights on nights on nights writing plans and activities for our idea books. We shared our souls during our final presentations. We are more than just teaching assets and venting outlets – we’re family. We did this together. Whether you are a teacher, a student, or a conveyer of magic, I’m eternally proud of each and every one of you. I love you guys.

And on this joyous occasion, please enjoy the song that got me through countless nights of studying, TWS assembly, poster creations, lesson plans, reflections, and much more. We all have that “go to” song. Enjoy mine.

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