I've had mixed experiences with student teachers--from some of the most outstanding young people who renewed my faith in our profession to...ummmm....others. The last one I had I PROMISED myself would be my last. She started her first day by announcing that she had no intentions on ever teaching and just wanted a degree. Gasp. Then she would proceed to tell me repeatedly how she struggled to know what to do because she, "just gets so captivated by my lessons that I just can't really think about what I should be doing." Fabulous.
So here we go again--on the eve of the first day of what will hopefully be the start of something really really big for a young person's future. I've met her--and she impressed me. I heard things come out of her mouth like "I'm a risk taker and not afraid to fail," and "I have a soft spot in my heart for students with special needs--it is my goal to reach every one of them," and "I have been waiting my whole life for this."
My heart skipped a beat...could this be another one of "us"? Someone who is willing to work until midnight looking at writing samples to figure out where to go next? Someone who can't sleep because she is so worried about her student who had friendship issues on the bus and no one was home to help? Someone who is obsessed with collecting books because someONE, someDAY, might connect to it? Someone who knows that the perfect writing tool is worth buying in bulk?
Is she one of us?
Please let it be true. So tonight I think of all the things I need to tell her...to show her...to teach her...to help her discover. (OMG...I'm bawling typing this right now!)
I need her to know how amazingly precious each of those little souls is that she will be in the midst of every day. How NO test is more important than a child's heart. How there will be so many hoops to jump through over the next 35 years--but they are all worth it because she can make a difference in 25 x 35 lives. How she can and will NEVER stop learning because she will see that every single year she teaches she will learn that she knows even less than she thought she knew about teaching and learning--and that she will not be content until she has pushed herself more than she thought possible. How she is going to have days where she is going to question her career choice--and other days where she will sit at the computer crying as she reflects on her vital role in forming the minds and hearts of young people.
So I ask all of you tonight to keep Miss W in your hearts as she begins this most important of journeys. Help me to help her become the teacher she is meant to be.
Help me to help her become...
one of us