I wrote recently about stepping outside the bubble. I wondered if teaching would really be all that I had imagined in my head, all that I had planned for on paper, and all that my peers and I had hyped it up to be.
In so many ways my pre-internship experience was nothing like I had imagined.
I thought that my unit plan was solid, and would be the best thing ever. It wasn’t.
I thought that I’d coast through my three weeks with my head held high and confidence in my step. I didn’t.
I thought that I would be able to do all sorts of amazing things, and totally wow the students with a wonderful math unit experience. I didn’t.
Now, I’m sure by this point many of you (especially you, Mrs. G!) are thinking, “What?! Seriously? You didn’t have a good time? I’m sure you were awesome and had so much fun! You were born to teach! ”
These are the types of statements that really bug me. Did I have fun? Sure, lots of times! Was I awesome? ….well that’s debatable. Am I a born teacher? I am definitely nowhere close to being some sort of prodigal teacher who can do no wrong; believe me, I made plenty of mistakes in the past few weeks to prove this point. The thing is, my pre-internship went so beyond the perceived ideals I had before my pre-internship, and the experienced realities of the classroom have had such a huge impact on my understanding of education.
My super great unit plan did not turn out the way I’d planned, but what I taught my students was what they needed.
My confidence did not carry me through the last few weeks, and I had several days of near (or actual) tears where I contemplated how I got myself into this “mess”, and if I am really cut out for this profession.
There was little wow factor in the way that I taught my students, because I had to change on the fly, shift my unit, simplify, and adapt to the needs of my students and ensure they were learning what they needed to learn.
So no, my pre-internship experience was not what I expected; it was what I needed and so much more.
I learned so much about myself and the way I teach, that I still don’t know where to begin to explain it all. I didn’t blog last week mainly because I was just so caught up in the changes I was feeling within myself that I couldn’t pluck a tangible thought to share with everyone. Now that my time is over, I’m still sorting through everything, and hope to come out with some clearer thoughts in the next few days about what I really learned the last three weeks.
I have always found it really difficult to look back and see what I didn’t know before. Once I learn something new, I don’t remember what it was like to not know it. Perhaps this is why I can easily apply newly learned things into my life, because they kind of feel like they’ve always been there; like I just uncovered something that was always there, but I hadn’t noticed before. This is how I’ve felt a lot during my pre-internship. As I learned something new, I’d get a feeling like, “Huh, that’s neat,” or “Whoops, guess I won’t do that again,” and then the next day I could usually apply that concept and make things better. Now, this wasn’t always the case, and it lead to some major inner conflict and struggle, but I think in the end, I was able to really learn a lot of things about myself.
So, what did I learn? What are my biggest take-aways from my pre-internship experience? Well, I guess you’ll just have to check back later for another blog post…because I’m still sorting all of that out myself!