Wednesday, April 2, 2014

So...I'm a Junior

As I sat in the library today working on assignments for my three online classes, I realized that I have officially crossed over from sophomore to junior. I am half way done with college (provided that the rest of everything goes according to plan). I've been in some form of school for almost 15 years now and I only have two years left. Oh goodness, that's nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around.
On the one hand, it's really exciting. I'm about to be truly in the real world, able to do whatever I want.
On the other, it means that I will be taking almost solely upper division classes for two years--save the language classes that I need. Prior to this quarter, I've taken two upper division classes. Now I'm taking four at once. Four. I already think I'm a little bit crazy.
But, as I've started working on my TESL program classes (Teaching English as a Second Language, for any who don't know), I was reminded of the huge appreciation I have for my dad. He's been a teacher for twenty-plus years now and, while I've always known that it's not the easiest job in the world, I didn't really understand how much went into it. Granted, I still don't. It's just that the section in my TESL book today was describing different teaching methods and how prepared a teacher needs to be for their classes, and it hit me that my dad has been doing that kind of work for a wide variety of subjects for years now. And so much of it, too. I used to go in at the beginning of a school year and help get his room organized and he always made sure to tell me how much of a help I was being. I guess I underestimated how much stress I was taking off him: if he didn't have to worry about organizing/decorating his classroom, he had more energy to focus on putting lesson plans together and making sure that his curriculum was where it needed to be.
I'm really excited about the possibility of going overseas and teaching English (which is what I hope to do with my TESL certification once I'm done). But, suddenly, I feel very proud to be treading near my father's footsteps. During my years in high school, I always had other kids coming up to me to tell me how great my dad was, how much they loved his stories, and how good of a teacher he was to them. I've overheard tons of parents telling my dad that math never really made sense to their child until they took a math class with him. Granted, my possible teaching experience will be much different than his actual teaching experience, but he's instilled in me that helping people learn is a wonderful endeavor and now I'm really excited about the chance I have.
In that same vein, it feels about time to send a bit of a shout out to all of my old high school teachers. As tiny as our school was, it always felt like our teachers cared and like they wanted us to learn. Teachers are an amazing kind of human; they dedicate their lives to helping students understand and master a huge range of subjects--often without getting the recognition that they should. They take on extra projects: facilitating clubs like student council, helping to create the yearbook, and being distant learning coordinators so students can take online classes. I'm continually impressed when I think about how much effort teachers put into their jobs and I realize that I never said thank you enough. So, thank you.
Here's to hoping that I can put everything you helped teach me to good use as I get through these next two years of college.