This fall was the second semester that I had the opportunity to participate in the Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools (TOPS) program. I enjoyed every minute of it. I signed up to help with writing in a third grade class.
Each day I volunteered, I signed in at the front desk and received a name tag. Then I made the long trek to the end of the hall of the next building to Ms. Lovell’s classroom. After recess the students would sit down
and wait for Ms. Lovell to give them instructions about their center’s rotation for the day. There were about five different stations they would rotate through. Writing, reading with Ms. Lovell, listening, and spelling were some of the rotations. When students got to the writing center, I would help them, one on one, to brainstorm and edit their stories. I always smiled at their responses to writing prompts. They wrote about Harry Potter, Thanksgiving traditions, and sometimes, funny possibilities like “What if candy fell from the sky whenever it rained?” The chance to work with these students and their writing was really insightful. Their writing gave me a glimpse into their lives away from school and consequently, why they act the way they do at school.
Once, I became involved in a conversation that a table of third graders was having about what they wanted to be when they grow up. One student mentioned that he was thinking about being an artist. Another student responded, “Artists don’t make a lot of money.” The first student said they do make a lot of money if they get famous. The second student said, “You shouldn’t want to be famous.” Then they asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I want to be a teacher. “A school teacher?” they asked. “Yep! Third grade! It’s my favorite!” I said. Then, they felt important because they’re in third grade. It was interesting to hear their thought processes about the future and their attitudes about being “famous.”
Every time I have the opportunity to be in an elementary classroom I can better see myself as a teacher. Sometimes the chance to have your own classroom seems so far away, but it becomes more real when you can experience successes in a classroom before then. I made a goal at the beginning of the semester to learn every student’s name by my last day and I did it! I love how TOPS gives me the opportunity to work with children one on one because that does not happen often as a teacher. I am so grateful for the things I learned from my experience at Wasatch Elementary this semester.
For a look at my TOPS experience from last semester, go here.