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Teaching Reflection

When I first started at USD I was very nervous and hard on myself. I was not sure if I was

prepared for graduate school. I did not think I was prepared to even begin learning to be a teacher. So,

when I first met my cohort I felt the need to, like a peacock, show off my accomplishments to prove that

I belonged. However, I think what has helped me evolve beyond the support of my teachers and

mentors, were my classmates. The professional and emotional support that I received from them these

past two years has been priceless.

I was having a conversation with a classmate the other day about how part of me still does not

feel ready to be a full fledged teacher. I was very worried about this because then I thought how me not

feeling ready would affect the quality of support that I provided to my students. But, my friend said

something to me that I found comfort in. Do you ever feel ready?

I had to stop, and think. I remembered, then, about how yes, teachers are never going to be ready or

perfect educators because we are constantly learning and growing. I suppose the nerves of what happens

after graduate school really affected me. But, now, I keep reminding myself of this.

These past two years, I have been able to experience different things that allowed me to acquire

many skills. For example, something that I am very happy to have cultivated was my listening skills. I

have learned to be a better listener, not only in my own classes with my professors and classmates, but I

have been able to be a better listener with my students at Mesa. I first started my work there in an

accelerated reading and writing skills class and continued to work in mainstream English classrooms.

Initially I was very concerned because they were not ESOL classes and I feared I would not benefit from

the experience I was receiving. However, I soon realized that English language learners are in these

classes as well. More importantly, they often struggle in these classes. So, for me, this was very useful

because I learned to help ELLs in this type of environment. Further, I had the chance to model patience

and understanding to other students who may not, initially, be as welcoming. My position in those
classrooms helped to create a more safe environment for all students. Seeing this, helped me realize that

I was exactly where I needed to be.

Teaching as a Graduate Tutor and in my classes at USD also helped me build confidence in

myself. I have learned to try things out that work and things that don’t work. That which doesn’t work, I

learned to alter it and try again. Something I value from my experience teaching in these settings is the

opportunity to work on the skills that allow me to think on my feet. These are skills that I have struggled

with in the past, so I happy that I have had these opportunities.

One of the most powerful lessons I learned these past two years was that when educators tend to

the affective filter of our students, it allows for more learning to occur. Tending to this as well

encourages motivation, which I believe is also conducive for learning. Learning how to create a safe

environment and understanding how student centered classrooms are beneficial for this, is something

that I did not know at the beginning of my educational journey.

As the semester comes to close and we begin to get ready to graduate, I believe the most

important lesson I will take with me is to remember that it’s OK that we don’t know something, and it’s

OK to be honest with our students when we don’t know something. As long as we have that “yet” in our

minds, we can continue to push forward. Sharing this mentality, this growth mentality with our students,

I feel is the most powerful message we can instill in them. So, even if I may not feel completely ready,

that’s OK, because I know that I will continue working hard and trying my best.