Everyone Grows – one of Impact’s core values that shapes so much of what we do and who we are. The same amount of effort that goes into students growing goes into staff development. My experience as a Teacher Fellow (TF) this year is what has made me confident in my decision to be a teacher.
Prior to this year, I studied education and completed my internship in an elementary school afterschool program. I had very limited formal teaching experience. Knowing that I was coming into a classroom a month later than everyone else when expectations had already been set, relationships had formed, and routines were internalized was extremely nerve wracking. On top of that, coming in with limited classroom experience, I was concerned that at the end of the year I would feel like teaching wasn’t for me. Thankfully, my experience has been the exact opposite of that.
During my first three days in the classroom, none of the scholars hesitated to introduce themselves to me. They showed me their wiggly teeth, explained their routine and showed me how the classroom worked. Even though I had big shoes to fill, there was never a time when I felt left out or out of place. Scholars and other teachers have been so forgiving of my mistakes, my trial and error, and fumbling through a lot of things as I’ve learned and grown. Both my co-teacher and my instructional coach have been amazing. My co-teacher has been there every step of the way. The way they have allowed me to learn and grow at my own pace, always pushing me to do more. I believe this is why I was able to accomplish so much professional growth this year. Within a few months, I knew every step of the day and the “why” behind the things we do. In the beginning, there was only about an hour in the day when I was the one teaching and I always had another teacher with me with my instructional coach checking in. Now, I feel comfortable taking over the whole day when the lead teacher is out.
As a TF I support student behavior when the class is together as a whole group, teach my own separate guided reading and phonics group, and lead an enrichment class each day to every class in the grade level. I get practice teaching, while being able to learn from an experienced teacher. I’m hoping with another year of practice while participating in a teaching certification program, I will be prepared to take the next step to become a Lead Teacher.