Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do I have what it takes to be a teacher?

            As a Junior Math Education Major, the fear of the future keeps making its presence known. One year from now I am supposed to be teaching the youth of our world. Am I ready? Do I really have what it takes to be a teacher?
            When I was little, I was that girl that loved to play school every day. I would set up my classroom with white boards and teach “my class” anything I could think of. Teaching back then just meant that I could doodle all over a white board and since I am the youngest in my family, it meant that I could finally be in charge! I wasn’t afraid of anything. Now when I look at teaching I find fear in everything. Will I be creative enough? Will I be able to handle a classroom? Do I know my content area enough? Will I…
            This idea of fear has been in my head for quite some time now, but recently it has changed. Recently someone reminded me that failure will happen every day of your life, but that’s okay. This particular someone is actually a group of veteran teachers. Just recently I attended the SDCTM and SDSTA conference in Huron, SD. I had the option to attend a meeting where veteran teachers gave advice about teaching to future teachers. These teachers had experience that ranged from one year to forty plus years of teaching. Each teacher had different experience, yet they all agreed on one thing. Teaching is hard. It is not something you master in four years of schooling or even 10 years. Teaching is making mistakes and learning to make yourself better because of it.
            The advice that many of these teachers spoke of, were ideas that we as new teachers will have to discover on our own. We will have to discover the best way to manage our classrooms, the best policy for discipline, how much homework to give, how to talk to parents, who to go to for advice, where to go when you just need a breather (Is there even time for a breather?), and many more. One overall fact is that we have a lot to discover, but before taking off, remember one of the best pieces of advice given: "have fun and enjoy yourself, because if you are having fun, your students will too!" This one particular piece of advice helped remind me of why I wanted to be a teacher. In order to have fun you must be willing to put the fear behind you. I have to remember that fear is only as powerful as I make it. As my high school teacher says” Not many get to experience the wonders of teaching, so enjoy it, because once you stop enjoying it, that is when it becomes a job.”
            In conclusion, I want to thank those veteran teachers that reminded me that failure happens. Whether you have one or forty years of experience, your advice is much appreciated. I know now that I do have what it takes to be a teacher. Even though I will probably fail a few too many times, I am up for the challenge and I am willing to learn.
            One year from now I will be teaching the youth of our world, and I couldn’t be more excited!
 Katie Murtha – A future mathematics teacher