Throughout my entire senior year (and the summer after), I researched NYC
schools and called school after school. I hit lots of dead ends between
phase-out schools, schools that weren't hiring, schools that didn't want
to go through the hassle of switching my certification from PA to NY, or
schools that were only hiring special ed teachers. Finally I heard back
from ONE principal who offered me an interview and ended up hiring me on
the spot in mid-August.
I've always felt called to teach in an urban public school, which is what
inspired my NYC search for schools that were rated "developing" or
"underdeveloped." I really didn't have any choice in which position to
take (I was only offered first grade, at this particular school), but it
worked out to be just what I was looking for.
There are also those moments when you see a student finally "get it."
In my classroom, this might mean Diego saying, "Oooooohhhhhhh!" when
the concept of base-10 blocks clicks in his mind, or it might mean
DeCarlos saying, "I forgive you" to Mamounata after she apologized for
stealing his crayon. As a teacher, you tell students something again
and again and every once in a while you're lucky enough to see it sink
in as their behavior or learning changes.
Thanks to GCC field experiences and student teaching, I've had some sort
of experience in every grade from PreK to Grade 6. This has really
expanded my understanding of where students are coming from
developmentally and where they're going (academic and otherwise). I've
taken lots of practical things from GCC professors (Mrs. Dreves' KNT rule,
Dr. Culbertson's phonics flashcards, and more) and from my student
teaching co-ops (behavior charts, classroom procedures).
Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can! Look at other
teachers' classrooms and procedures and think practically about what you'd
like to implement in your future classroom. Also, be open-minded to
teaching a grade you might otherwise not want to. You never really know if
you like a grade/age until you try it for a year or so.
Be persistent, and
don't lose heart. Also, talk to Mrs. Snyder--she has lots of connections
and helpful, practical tips for portfolios, resumes, interviews. Make an
appointment with her and attend the portfolio workshop!
and living in the Bronx really takes me out of my comfort zone
sometimes--it's very humbling to be the minority in regards to language
and culture. It's exciting, too, as I'm more able to relate to my students
since I live in their community.
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