I have an internship at an elementary school in a third grade classroom. I LOVE it! It is so rewarding to go into that classroom every week and see students progress and learn valuable concepts and tools that will help them throughout the rest of their lives. It has been interesting as I have observed these students to see their different personalities, what makes them who they are. Of all the experience I've had in a classroom thus far I think I've learned the most this semester. I have had to deal with and figure out issues that I never even knew could exist, and rack my brain to find ways to help these kids succeed. My mentor teacher is definitely there for the kids and she has taught me so much about doing right by them and making sure they have all the tools they need to succeed in their education.
There are a few boys in this class that like to hang out with me and talk. Some of them like to tell me about all the "cool" things they do, the latest and greatest adventure they've had, the fun things they did over the weekend, but there is one boy who comes and talks to me and he sincerely asks me how I'm doing. He asks me if I'm enjoying my day, what I like to do. It is so cute and sweet. This particular little boy has a really hard time with math and reading. He has some of the lowest scores in the class, but he really does try. I would have never guessed that he would be one of the struggling kids in the class because he acts so much older than his age and he has a huge vocabulary like no third grader I've ever met. Today my mentor teacher told me that this little boy had finally been placed in a special ed math class to help him out. He goes for 30 minutes every day. After he got back from his math class he came to the back of the room where I was sitting and asked me how my day was going. I told him it was going great, that I was having a lot of fun. He smiled and said he was glad. Then he put his hands on the table in front of me, he looked up at me and I could tell he wanted to tell me something, it was almost bursting out of his little body. He said, "I am so glad that I am getting help with my math! The teachers in my new math class are really good at helping me understand the problems and I am getting so much better! I told them that they were doing a good job." He was absolutely beaming with pride and I told him I was so proud of him and his choice to work hard even though math was a little difficult for him. He said, "Thank you," and went back to his seat to finish off the assignment they were doing. I was about speechless and so touched by his perspective. Later, I was going through a comprehension test with all the students and talking to them about the questions they had missed and why. We are trying to prepare them all for the AIMS test next month so we want to make sure they are understanding key concepts they'll be tested on. This student was one of the kids I needed to talk to and he had gotten a lot of them wrong. I pulled him back to go through the test with him and as I was explaining it I could see a light bulb go off in his head. He started answering questions before I even finished asking them. It was kinda cool! After we finished going through the test I asked him to grab another student for me. He started to walk away but then turned back around, came over to me and said, "Thank you so much for helping me understand that better." WOW! No one does that! Especially not a third grader! Most kids don't really like being "different" and being pulled out of class to get "help" but he was just so grateful that he was getting better and that he was starting to "get it." It just made my heart happy to see him so proud of himself and his accomplishments.
That story encompasses the main reason I want to teach. I want kids to be able to reach their fullest potential. I want them to feel satisfied and happy with the things they are accomplishing. There is no reason why any child should not have the opportunity to feel good about themselves and feel like they have someone backing them up and helping them succeed. That's what being a teacher is all about! I love the feeling I get every time I go into that classroom. It's fantastic!