Outside the Bubble

Whenever I go out, like when I’m doing some errands, I’m always amazed at what people exist in our city. Now, I don’t mean to be overly critical here, but I can’t help but think that our community is filled with a lot of selfish, self centered people who have little regard for anyone around them. Far too often I see people cut someone off when driving, walk right past the mom struggling to carry out her armfuls of groceries while holding onto her child, or complain when the server at the restaurant, who’s clearly having a bad day, takes an extra few minutes to come and refill their drinks.

Perhaps I’ve just been spending too much time either at university or at home watching Netflix…uh, I mean, doing homework…but, it surprises me every time I see how people actually behave in the “real world”. It actually makes me kind of sad. My sheltered experience in classes at university surrounded by caring friends has just made me want to believe that everyone is caring, genuine, and cares for others. It’s quite a different reality when I leave my little bubble and step outside.

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This has got me thinking about our upcoming pre-interenship experience…

For our entire university experience, and for many, probably also several years leading up to attending university, we have dreamed of what it would be like to be in a “real” classroom. We imagine putting our amazing lessons into action and really making a difference with the students we teach. We dream of that “perfect” classroom experience where we can connect with the students and see those “ah-ha” moments where they truly connect with us and the content of the lesson. But, what happens when we actually leave the cozy comforts of our cohort and step out into the reality of the classroom? Will it be the same as when we go out to do errands and experience the world beyond our sheltered little lives?

Sure, we’ve had a few experiences of being in the classroom already, but they’ve been at most, a once-a-week experience teaching a “one-off” lesson that really doesn’t connect to anything. We may have had some opportunity to make some connection with students, but not on a daily basis where we’re not just seen as a one time visitor in the classroom. Do we really know what the whole classroom experience is all about? What is life like outside the theoretical bubble that we have lived in so long?

We hear so many stories of “what it’s really like” in the life of a teacher, and for 3 weeks we now might just get to experience some of that. Are we ready? Am I ready?

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While I’d like to consider myself a realist in a great many things, when it comes to imagining my life as a “real” teacher I’m definitely a dreamer, and like to dream pretty big. I typically have high expectations of myself and want to do the best that I can, but this month has been somewhat of a struggle for me, and has left my expectations somewhat diminished from their usual level. I’m still excited about my upcoming 3-week block, but I’m trying to put less pressure on myself to achieve “perfection”. I’m not aiming to achieve any sort of cliched “perfect” teacher goals, like those in this video, but at the same time I’m not anticipating the somewhat far-fetched “realities” of teaching that this article presents (though they’re fairly amusing). So the real question is really, what AM I expecting to accomplish? What will it really be like outside the bubble?

I think I’m beginning to realize that while all my big ideas are great, and amazing, they ideas are not what makes the teacher. Yes, they are a fairly major part, as an un-creative teacher is pretty boring in my opinion, but it takes more than just some cool ideas to truly make a great teacher. I hope that my experience outside the bubble will show me how my ideas really work in “the real world”, and will give me the experience of helping students see the big ideas and hopefully to help them find the joy in learning what might not typically be considered exciting topics. I’m teaching a unit on Integers here folks, which is probably not what most people would consider something exciting. Math is not usually the most exciting thing on its own, so when combined with a fairly “mundane” topic, I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me. I think I’ve got some pretty fun ideas and lessons in store for these students though!

So while this experience of living outside the bubble for 3 weeks is certainly going to be scary, nerve-wracking, and crazy, it’s going to be so much fun, and provide me (and all of my fellow classmates) with wonderful experiences and help us develop our true “teacher” selves. Here’s to the journey!

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