In a little more than three short weeks, you will officially be a high school math teacher. Though you are incredibly excited and have so many plans and ideas, the challenges that come with being a first year teacher will soon seem overwhelming. Some days your lessons will lack creativity. Other days, it will take all your energy just to make it through the day.
Remember the lesson you walked away with from your student teaching experience. Everything you do, every day you do it, makes a difference in the life of a student.
My cooperating teacher at the middle school level gave me two amazing presents on my last day of student teaching. First, he presented me with a name plaque to set on my desk. His cooperating teacher had given him one, and he continued the tradition. Receiving this made me feel like a real teacher for the first time.
The second gift, though it cost him nothing, has become one of my most treasured possessions. On the last day, he had each student write me a letter. They had to tell me three things they liked about my teaching, three things they learned, and write me a special message.
I ended almost all of my college application and scholarship essays with the following sentence: "A teacher’s profound influence may never be fully known, but unlike fleeting fame and wealth, it is immortal." This precious stack of letters gave me a peek at the extent to which a teacher impacts lives. I read letters from students I thought I had not impacted that made me cry. Other students wrote of small things I had done that I never would have dreamed would have made a difference in their lives.
When teaching gets tough, I will turn to these letters to remind me what teaching is all about.
|The Power of a Simple "Good Morning"|
|This was from a student that I didn't really feel like I had reached as I should have. My efforts to reach him, however, did not go unnoticed.|
|I never dreamed in a million years that this would be what a student liked about my teaching.|
|This is why I teach.|
|Another Reminder that Students Notice Everything - Even a Simple "Hi"|