Tomorrow I start back to school, student teaching and classes at Southern Oregon University. It’s amazing that I’m more than halfway through this Master’s program. It has been a journey in so many ways and I’ve?learned so much about myself and about the profession of teaching.
Starting tomorrow, I continue student teaching at a middle school, where I started the last three weeks of the fall term and I will be here through the end of the school year. I believe I’m best suited to teach middle school and, as these next few months unfold, I will see. During most of the fall term, I was placed in a high school with a brilliant art teacher. Not only did I learn so much from her, she gave me the gift of teaching many, many of her classes by myself. Though the fall term was to be primarily observation, I actually taught all levels of high school art.
In addition, I had the incredible opportunity to work one-on-one with many students who were in the midst of meeting academic, personal, and other challenges. Also, because there is much individual studio time in art classes, I got to know many of these students quite well. Some of them shared their lives with me – their stories, interests, joys and heartbreaks. Though these stories must remain confidential, I wish that I could share them. These students inspired me and touched my heart so profoundly. I learned?so much more from them than I could have ever?taught them.
In truth, there were moments during this term that I wanted to drop out of the program, and considered it very seriously. The work load was overwhelming, my commute was very long every day, and I struggled with incredible self-doubt about whether I have what it takes to be a good teacher. The students were the reason I didn’t quit. The thought of missing out on teaching them and being part of their lives was something I realized I could not do.