Teaching (& learning) your ABCs
I want to be a teacher.
This seems to come as a surprise to many of those who think I’m planning
a career in the wilds of journalism, but there’s something about being
a teacher that’s always appealed to me. I admit, summers off, March Break
and Christmas holidays are a bonus, but the rewarding aspects of this career
are what really sucked me in.
Consequently, ever since high school I’ve been making an effort to volunteer
in different capacities to gain experience — from teaching piano to planning
educational programming at a museum; I’ve done it all. Starting this
past fall, however, I stepped into a Grade 7 classroom as a teacher’s
assistant for the first time.
Wow. Not only had I completely forgotten what it was like to be in the seventh
grade, but being in the midst of professors and TAs, I had lost all realization
of the simple fact that school teachers work hard to prepare for their full
days of classes. Really hard.
With classrooms averaging 30 or so students, and the need to plan sports,
field trips, concerts (etc., etc., etc.), it amazes me that teachers can actually
accomplish what they need to in a day. I volunteer one day a week, and aside
from spending time helping individual students, I do mass quantities of photocopying,
changing art projects on cork boards and other small tasks that would otherwise
add hours onto every teacher’s day.
Yes, I admit, these things can seem tedious for people with lofty ideals of
saving the lives of their students à la Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous
Minds, but I enjoy it nonetheless.
Why, you ask? Because even if I’m absolutely exhausted from writing
essays or studying for midterms, these kids never fail to make that one day
of my week the best one by far. They’re energetic and hardworking, they
talk about what sports teams they cheer for or what birthday parties they are
going to with their friends — but most of all, they make me laugh. And
frankly, everyone can use a good laugh.
Obviously, I love this type of work or I wouldn’t want to be a teacher,
but I started volunteering specifically to get in-class experience for my teacher’s
college applications. Not only am I gaining valuable experience, which will
benefit me immensely in my future career, but I’m having a great time
along the way.
Even if you don’t want a career in teaching, I can’t say enough
about how much I love going into that classroom every week. It always makes