It's alright Murf. You can always come back to it later.
That is the age group I feel drawn to teaching the most. Perhaps it's because 7th and 8th grade were personally my best years throughout school. Plus I had a really awesome 8th grade English Teacher, who introduced me to creative writing, poetry, and the Writer's Ink Club. I hope to establish something like that when I become a teacher. I think kids could really use some good extracurricular activities. I'm a little excited (and nervous) to do my observations, but I'm really excited to actually teach something.
I'm not worried with Generational gaps per say, it's more the fact that I was taught in a New York School versus a Virginia school. I think most schools would encourage a wider gap between teachers and students anyway right? I'm pretty sure my old High School did, especially when I applied for a substitute teaching job back then. I was still in my early 20s at the time, and they didn't want me to be in the Highschool. I sadly never did get that job, but I did return to school after that. And I went back to school yet again. So my life is all about school, so why not become a teacher? Haha! I like this old saying about Karate classes, and while I haven't exactly taken Karate (the exception being briefly when I went to college the first time) no one is ever truly a "master" because when you receive a black belt, eventually it fades over time, resembling how we all started with a white belt. Without practice, the belt fades back to white. The same principle I believe applies to the teaching and even the school setting. It's a constant shift from being at the bottom to the top. People in 8th grade are at the top of the totem pole if you will because they are at the tail end of middle school, but fall back to the bottom when they become High School freshmen. When they go to college after graduating from Highschool, the same thing happens again. For me the subjects I'm passionate about are Creative Writing and Literature, and the Arts (including visual arts like drawing and painting and such.) I'm more likely to get a job teaching Creative writing, Literature and English though I think. Although the most demand is for teachers of the subject I am scared of: Math.
Although I did surprisingly well in Math for the Liberal Arts.
I'm not crazy about standardized testing for sure. But as far as Common Core Mathematics goes, I was surprised when the methods that I used to help me gain a better understanding of Math were being applied to Common core. Why not give the kids a choice instead of forcing one way or the other? The "Old Fashioned way" didn't work for me, but the new way did. For some kids, it might be the opposite. Every kid is going to have their own individual learning style. I think the emphasis should be on actual learning, not trying to memorize information. Whenever I tried to memorize stuff I always forgot half of it, and to this day I don't remember much of it. But when you apply your knowledge, and find ways to actually make it relatable and interesting, that's when you remember it. I want to teach kids stuff that they'll use and remember even when they go to college or go off to find a job in the work force. Not just try to get through the test.
I'm hoping I can build networks through the college professors I meet, and the fact that I am getting such good grades there. Last semester I got Straight As. I'm not expecting that to happen each time, but I do hope to at least earn a great Grade Point Average and get As and Bs. One of my Professors also teaches Science at the High School near the College. I'm hoping she'll put in a good word for me. The Mary Baldwin college rep said it would be likely that I'd get my job where I'd do my student teaching. Even if it's in Staunton, it would be a start. It would be quite a drive every day though. I'm not 100% sure about Mary Baldwin, I still want to do some research I decided before I settle into which college I want to transfer to. Mary Baldwin does sound like a nice college, they even seem to say they help students find a job. But what I want to know is...is their "help" actually just the typical resume and cover letter writing, or is there actual resources and job placement with that college? Are there schools with agreements to hire Teaching students out of college? These are going to be the major determining factors for me picking my Four Year school. I want one that will help with job placement and resources and not just tell me how many things I've done wrong with my resume and point me to indeed.com or some other job search website. Genesee Community College promised to help me find work, their promise just ended up being like what happened when I went to Alfred State, virtually no help at all. What resources are good for picking the right four year school? I have to be able to get in with Grants and Scholarships, I really can't afford more loans.
I think there are some secular Private schools from what I have heard. I'm not even sure if there are any around here. Lexington City school I heard was pretty good though. I may not be religious, but I don't necessarily think I agree with "state imposed atheism." To be honest, I don't think that's really fair for anyone. Sure I'm not a Christian, nor do I believe in the Christian God, but I think children do have the right to read their Bibles and pray in schools. I personally would not be offended by it or want to attempt to stop them. If it means my job is on the line...then I'd have to choose between what I feel is a moral obligation and the law. My personal beliefs and moral obligation tell me that I should respect any and all beliefs, and let people be free to believe what they want as long as it's not harming anyone. Prayer and reading the Bible don't really hurt anyone even if I personally don't do either. I even have a Bible that belonged to my Great Grandfather. It's not that I read it or anything, I just keep it as a keepsake to remember him by. Instead of imposing Atheism, Christianity, or another religion, I'd rather teach kids to think critically about what they believe and have them come to their own logical conclusions. I do want to be free to decorate, and have freedom on what books I can choose and have some control over the curriculum. I'm afraid Public schools wouldn't offer those opportunities, everything would be state mandated and regulated. On the other hand, State regulated Public schools would have better pay and benefits. I'm also afraid of the stories I've heard where the parents are less likely to care when kids are in Public school. But whether the parents care or not, I want my students to know that I care, and I'm there for them. I will see them as my kids when they are sitting in my classroom. I want learning to be fun, but I also want kids to make sure they respect the rules. I do not want to be an overly strict, or overly "easy" teacher. I want a balanced classroom.
Even if it's Middle School I still want to decorate. Maybe I can incorporate holiday themed stories (something spooky for Halloween, maybe something winter or Christmas themed for Christmas) maybe display some books or challenge people to write about their own Christmas traditions, or if they don't celebrate Christmas what their holiday traditions are, if any. This may be a good time to learn about holidays in other cultures too. If they don't celebrate, perhaps they could write about something else. Either way, I want to be fair to everyone. Regardless, I do want to have good literary perspectives. The challenging part is going to be those Essays. I didn't find them fun when I was that age, and I doubt they will either. I did find compare/contrast essays interesting though. I wonder if I can challenge my kids to pick a book and compare it with a movie or video game (a lot of video games now a days have complex and indepth plots that might be interesting to write about). Maybe write about a topic they feel passionate about. Whichever the case, I want them to enjoy the learning experience, and not just think of it as work or that they "have to be there." I want them to know that learning is a privilege. So many have had to fight just for the right to be in school back in the past, now a days it feels like the passion to learn isn't there. It's more like a chore.