I have been drawn to a career in education since I was a young child. I grew up as the oldest sibling of 3 and one of the oldest of my 27 cousins, and I was constantly surrounded by younger children with whom I would interact and look after on a near-daily basis. Early on, I realized that I enjoyed helping them learn how to read and encouraging them to develop new skills.
Eventually, I was given opportunities to teach other children, such as teaching in my church’s annual Vacation Bible School program, working with children and adults with Special Needs through the SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Practicum Teaching since August 2018. I not only was able to teach others and help them to learn, but I also learned and improved from having the opportunity to teach and interact with each student I encountered.
As I gain more teaching experience, my love for teaching and helping students to discover new abilities and potential that they did not recognize in themselves beforehand has only become stronger, and I am passionate about giving every student the opportunity and support that they need to improve and to succeed both academically and personally. I hope to never stop teaching and to never stop learning throughout my life, regardless of where exactly my career path leads me.
Before taking this course (Principles of Elementary Education), I had taken almost two years of Education courses at the University of Dallas, and I had already begun my Practicum Teaching experience. I had already studied various topics related to teaching and education including theories of child growth and development, strategies for teaching elementary Reading and Math, linguistic theory, children’s and young adult literature, and electronic tools and resources that are helpful in teaching. I had also taken a course, Reflective Teaching, in which our chosen research and discussion topic was “Factors that Affect Student Achievement”.
Going into this class, I did not have any particular questions about teaching, but I did want to learn more about how to be an effective teacher and how to manage a classroom well. Through our class discussions, article analyses, lesson presentations, and projects, I have had the opportunity to think critically about what I encounter as I continue to study Education and to further develop my own personal philosophy of education.
Through my observations and Practicum Teaching, I have learned so much about education as an applied field and about how a successful classroom functions. I have observed and taught kindergarten Math and Science, fourth grade Reading, and fifth grade Science. I also had the opportunity to perform two Diagnostic Reading case study, one with a kindergartener and one with a fifth grader, in which I administered pre-assessments, created an individualized instruction plan for each student, tutored the students, and administered a post-assessment. I then used all of this information to analyze the students’ growth in the target areas outlined in the instruction plan and to make recommendations for areas in which the students needed further support and instruction.
Through all of these experiences, I have become better at working one-on-one with students, determining what vocabulary level at which the instruction for each group of students should be, instructing students in a variety of content knowledge from a variety of subject areas, and managing a small group of students as well as an entire classroom. I have learned cooperative teaching strategies through working and collaborating with other teachers and paraprofessionals in the classroom, and I have learned so much about time management and the need to be flexible regarding schedule changes and unforeseen road bumps in lessons. Overall, I have grown as both a teacher and as a person, and these experiences interacting directly with students and seeing them grow as well has reaffirmed my love for teaching and the positive impact that passionate, caring, and effective teachers can have on young people.
This Elementary Multigenre Project is a partial amalgamation of what I have learned so far and what I hope to learn in the future. I invite you to follow along with my journey as an aspiring educator, and I encourage you to further your own understanding of teaching and of education as a whole.
"Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it."