First in First-Meet My Classroom!

I have been waiting since kindergarten to have my own classroom. It’s been a pretty long wait and I am ecstatic that the moment is finally here! I’d like you to meet my classroom! This isn’t actually the first time that I have been in my room. I was able to tour it after I was hired and I brought Josh to visit last week. However, the previous teacher was moving out. So, this is the first time that I have gotten to dig through the books, cupboards, and space and start setting up my room.

The first day was a lot of taking things off of the walls and organizing materials in a way that worked for me. The previous teacher left behind a lot of books and materials for me. This is great because this is my first year teaching, which means I will take all of the materials I can get! But, need to finish going through all of it so that I know what I have and where I put it. (Let’s be real, I will be asking myself where I put it in about two weeks. I should just make a list now…)

Let’s get to the part you are all dying to see – my classroom! These are the before pictures before I touched anything. I would really love to be able to paint my bookshelves, but I am not sure that that is allowed. My “colors” are shades of pink and blue. I know, I know – pink is a “girl” color and blue is a “boy” color. Let me tell you, a majority of my boys’ favorite color is pink. Plus, my favorite colors are pink and aqua. So I am doing it-too bad, too sad if it’s not what you would have picked. I can’t wait to start making it my own space!20160706_13495420160706_13501020160706_135015

Well, You’re Just Going To Be A Teacher…

There are 8 little words that frustrate me more than anything: “Well, you’re just going to be a teacher.”

Whenever someone says this to me, I smile politely and quip something back along the lines of, “Yes, well the world needs teachers.” When all I really want to say is, “How do you think you got to college?” It drives me crazy and I’m only a pre-service teacher! Granted there are a lot of important jobs out there, but I never say, “Well, you’re just going to be a doctor.” or “Well, you’re just going to be a business man/women.” Why is it that people think teaching is so easy? I have yet to figure it out, but I am sure that I will at some point!

I willingly admit that I chose a teaching career. Several people tried talking me out of it. They told me I wouldn’t make any money, I would get burnt out too fast, I would hate it, I would spend too much money for no return. Here is a little secret, I am not going into teaching for the money. Believe it or not, I am becoming a teacher because I love kids and I love watching them grow and learn. There is not a better moment than when a child says, “I get it now Ms. Damro! It makes sense! Thanks!” I strive for those moments. The gratification I get from it is overwhelming. I also enjoy when I am getting ready to leave a practicum and students ask when I will be back or want to know what we will be doing next time. It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I see that my time matters to a child and what I am doing makes a difference in their lives. Instead, I ignored the people that told me I shouldn’t do it and listened to the people who told me it was the right choice. Their support means the world to me! Every time I get discouraged (usually when I think about the massive pile of student debt I will be paying back the rest of my life) all it takes is to be in a classroom to know that I made the right choice.

My first big math lesson that I was going to be teaching took me almost 5 hours to write. I wanted it to be perfect and I had no clue what I was doing. Someone came into our room and questioned my ability to write lessons and asked what was taking me so long. In their mind, teaching was just 2+2=4, there were no planned methods or standards that had to be followed. I honestly just wanted to yell at them I was so mad. When people say things like that to me, I feel belittled, like my job doesn’t matter. Sometimes I question how I am going to be able to do write lessons for my own students. But I know that over time, I will learn more and will become easier and natural. Please know that I am still learning! I do not know it all and I know I ever will. I am constantly searching for new methods and research to improve my teaching abilities. I want to be able to provide a quality education to my future students. When kids go to school, they aren’t just playing games or making crafts. Each lesson has a thought out process and reasoning behind it that a teacher thought up. Lessons have a purpose to help your child learn and experience new things. And it’s not all just planning lessons, it’s making sure that each child’s needs are met every day. It isn’t easy. I observe how hard my cooperating teachers work when I am in their classrooms to make sure that it is a safe, fun, and educational environment.

I am also really lucky to have a wonderful group of cooperating teachers. I do most of my practicum work back home because it is easier to get into a school where there aren’t 800 other kids trying to get hours. It’s also easier because all I have to do is email these teachers and give them the dates I will be back. They let me come into their classrooms without any fuss. They let me observe the classroom and the students. They encourage me to interact with the students and arrange for me to present short lessons or assist with lessons. All of my questions are always answered and they always give me tips and insights to help better my techniques. I admire their abilities and knowledge.  I couldn’t ask for a better group of teachers to work with! I am so appreciative of the help and willingness to work with me!

I look forward to the day that I have my own classroom and students. Until then, I will be soaking up every bit of information that I can. I hope that I can make a difference for my students like my teachers did for me. Moral of the story, don’t every say “just a teacher.” Respect the teachers in your community. They deserve it so very much!