I just wrapped up my freshman year at BYU, which is kind of bittersweet. I have absolutely loved my freshman year and looking back, I have learned so much–not just in class, but from living on my own. I have decided that there are some things that I am really going to miss. Here are a few:
1. Living on campus: I loved being so close to all of my classes and having the luxuries of on-campus housing.
2. Living close to so many students my age: This is the last year that I will be the same age as the students that I live with. In addition, I went to a high school where 5 out of 2,500 students were LDS, so living close to so many students that share my standards was wonderfully new to me!
3. All of the Resident Hall Association events: The RHA put on “After-Hours” events every month that were held after visiting hours (when members of the opposite sex were allowed in our rooms for two hours twice a week) in the dorms. They were fun! They were held in the Cannon Center and there was food and games. They also held an Enda-Semesta-Palooza in the Smith Fieldhouse the week before finals. There was an inflatable obstacle course, volleyball, a dance, snowcones, and more! These are only a few of the fun events that RHA put on that made my freshman year so fun.
4. Having a Resident Assistant that cared: I had an adorable RA that helped to make my freshman year great. She informed us about upcoming deadlines and events. She also decorated our hall and made it very inviting.
5. The Cannon Center: It was so nice not having to worry about making meals after a long day of class, or at all really. It was so convenient. Plus, every meal was like a social event where we got to see friends and take a break from studying. It was also nice that we didn’t have the chore of cleaning a kitchen.
These are just a few of the things that I have enjoyed as a freshman and that I will miss in the coming years. Goodbye freshman year…hello sophomore year!
As I have volunteered at Wasatch Elementary School, I have gained insight into the teacher-student relationship. In this case, I’m not yet a teacher, so it was interesting to see into the relationship between me, a volunteer, and the students. I have been trying to figure out how to be someone they can respect, someone they can be friends with, and someone that they can listen to. It’s not easy! One thing that I wanted to tackle was learning each of the students’ names. This is helped me to make friends with each student individually. One student always says hi and compliments me on my hair or my outfit. One student always gives me a high-five when it’s time to go. I enjoy each of these relationships that I have with the students.
The students that I had the opportunity of volunteering with are in the sixth grade. Sixth graders are sometimes more disrespectful toward teachers than younger students are, but I think that me being closer to their age helps a little bit. In the classroom, I help to keep the students on task and offer them help as they work in groups. Another thing that I have made it a point to do is to praise them when they do good things. I thanked them or complimented them when they did good things such as helping another classmate, following directions, cleaning up more than their fair share, etc. This motivated them to do good things because they knew that I was watching. The act of reinforcing good things is so powerful and it is neat to see it work in a classroom.
As I have learned more of the childrens’ names, I have found that they respect me more. They are more willing to interact with me or ask for help. I have learned that the little things I do to improve my relationship with each student are so beneficial to the overall atmosphere of the classroom. It’s important to make a classroom a place of respect and to form relationships of trust. Participating in T.O.P.S. (Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools) has greatly helped me to gain insight into the relationships that can be formed in a classroom and will benefit me as I become a teacher.
The McKay School of Education offers many benefits to its students. One of these great benefits is that I am able to be taught by professors who are former teachers and administrators. I have always been a proponent for finding out everything I can from professors to help my future career. That is why when I was thinking about what would be beneficial for me and my readers to learn about, I decided to ask a former superintendent. Accordingly, I asked my professor for my Foundations of Education Class, Professor Barry Newbold, for his advice for incoming teachers and I think you all will find it just as useful and insightful as I did.
Here is Professor Newbold’s advice for Incoming Teachers:
Being new at anything is a challenge. Being a new teacher is overwhelming! A teacher probably wants to be just like the teacher “next door” with lots of experience, perfect classroom management, flawless lessons and activities, the love and respect of parents and students, and the teacher who seems to “have it all together.” Rest assured, that teacher didn’t arrive at that point her first year, and neither will you! Here’s some advice for newcomers to the teaching profession.
- Keep balance and perspective in your life. Consciously balance the demands of work, home, and church service. If one of these gets out of balance, the rest will suffer. This will have a negative impact on all your activities. You will feel a strain physically, emotionally and spiritually. Never-ending work for school will not make you the teacher you hope to become.
- Set limits for yourself. The first year or two of teaching it may seem easy to justify getting to work early, staying late, working weekends and holidays, and skipping events with family and friends. While some of this non-stop work may be necessary, a steady diet will drive you out of the profession. You will simply “burn-out.” Don’t sacrifice activities that will rejuvenate you mentally, spiritually, and physically because you feel overwhelmed with the demands of school. Be driven and deliberate, but within limits.
- Eat the “elephant” of being a new teacher a few small bites as a time. Plan for the year, prepare for the month, focus your energy on the week. That will make things manageable. Be patient with yourself.
- Let others help you. Some may think that doing things on your own shows strength and determination. Well it does to some extent, but why not be open to letting others, i.e. other teachers, family members, and friends help you? Many hands make light(er) work.
- Make Sunday your day of rest from schoolwork. Resist the temptation to give in and do this or that for the next school week. My personal experience is that if you focus on principles of faith, testimony, and service on Sunday, the Lord will magnify you during the week to accomplish what is necessary.
- Keep a statement ,written by you, in your possession that articulates why you want to be a teacher. When things bog you down and seem to be overwhelming, take a few quiet minutes alone and re-read it. Pray for added strength to be that person, then go back to work.
Being the great teacher you want to be is a place to which you will never completely arrive. You’ll always feel you can do better, can reach out more to a challenging student, can improve a lesson, or need more time to prepare. None of that changes over the lifetime of a teacher. But I promise that if you do all you can reasonably do and attend to matters of perspective, balance, and faith your career as a teacher will be richly rewarding and simply spectacular!”
I just loved hearing this advice from someone who has been a teacher and an administrator and really knows what lies ahead for all of us future teachers. We can all learn from the experience of others so that we can avoid at least some of the obstacles that lie ahead. Thank you Professor Newbold for your wonderful advice!