Monday, 21 March 2011

Blog Series: Holly

Happy Monday to you all and we are kicking off the second week of this series with Holly. She's a Kiwi. Not a literal Kiwi but from the country better known as New Zealand and I LOVE her blog. I am really eager to share what Holly has to say as if nursing had never worked out for me, I would be doing exactly what Holly is embarking on right now.

Hello to all of Rebecca's lovely readers!

My name is Holly, and I am a primary (or elementary, for all of you American people!) education student in Christchurch, New Zealand. My regular blog is here, at The Adventures of Holly.

By the end of this year, I will be a qualified teacher.

Why did I choose this career path? To be perfectly honest, I sort of "fell into it". I am doing this course as a grad student, which means I already hold a degree in something other than education. My major was Sociology, and when I left high school and started university, I wanted to be a social worker. After one semester, I realised that even though my 18 year old recent school leaver self had her heart in the right place, and a genuine desire to help others, she had nowhere near the maturity or life experience to do justice to such an "intense" career, where so much was at stake for other, very vulnerable, people. I switched my major to Sociology, with the understanding that if I still wanted to after graduation in 2.5 years time, I could continue with social work then.

Starting in my second year of university, I had been working at an out of school care programme, looking after primary school aged children before they started school in the morning. In the middle of 2009 I also started working at a tutoring center, providing ESL tuition and remedial/extension help. I was a Pippins leader for Girl Guiding NZ. I also created and taught in a youth theatre programme at a local community theatre (that's another whole story in itself!).

Amusingly, even though I was doing ALL these child and teaching centered things, and really enjoying most of them, I never wanted to be a teacher. I have A LOT of teachers in my family (and wider social circle). At my 21st birthday party, my uncle jokingly asked every teacher in the room to raise their hand, and, without a word of a lie, about one third of the guests were teachers! But not me. I was adamant that teaching was Not In My Future!

Fast forward to January 2010. I had graduated from university in December '09 and was trying to decide what to do next. I still didn't feel ready for social work, so I began to look for an alternative. Mum was keen for me to apply for TColl, and when I looked on the college website I realised that the application deadline for 2010 was two weeks away! Argh! This started a very busy two week period where I frantically put together my application and crossed my fingers that my two character referees got their reports in on time! Luckily for me it came together, I went to an interview, and on February 4th last year, I found out that I had been accepted. Wow. So THIS is where my life is going! Didn't really see THAT coming!

Over the last year and a bit, I have experienced so many things... 
I've taught Year 8 (12 year olds)...and Year 0 (5 year olds). 
I've been in a school where a teacher won a nation-wide reality TV show (while I was there!)...and in a school which was partially destroyed by an earthquake (not while we were in it, thank goodness!).
I've met some people who I hope will be life-long friends...and some people I just might be pleased to see the back of once we graduate.

I have also learned A LOT. Not only have I learned how to plan a lesson, how to gain (and keep!) the attention of 18 five-year-olds and how to read a book in an engaging way, but I have also learned HOW MUCH I DON'T KNOW!
  • I don't know how to handle misbehaviour very well; I screw this up more than I get it right.
  • I don't know how to gauge how much work students of any particular age can actually do in a set time; I always plan too much or not enough.
  • I don't know how to write neatly on a white board; It starts off ok, but quickly shrinks away to being completely illegible and far too small.
  • I don't know how to feel confident while teaching a whole class lesson; Yes, my supervising teachers often comment that I seem that way, but I'm just really good at Faking It.
In short, teaching was never something that I'd dreamed of doing all my life. It's not the career "love of my life", and it's not something I enjoy 110% of the time. It's not perfect, but it IS something I see value in. It IS something I hope I will become good at over time, and it IS something which is totally and completely worth it when a student in your class has a "lightbulb moment" after you've taught them something. Then, it just "feels right".

Thanks for reading this guest post. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope that anyone who might be considering teaching as a career thinks it through really carefully first, but also realises just how awesome and rewarding it can be.

Thank you so much Holly for doing this! You can read all of Holly's happenings at her personal blog here at 'The Adventures of Holly.'


Mere said...

I have wanted to be an elementary educator for as long as I've wanted to be a nurse!! I wish I could do both....I can totally see you being an elementary educator. You have such a fun and sweet personality!!

Love, Mere

P.S. I cannot write neatly on a whiteboard starts out great, too, but turns into a mess like your''re not alone!!

Alex(andra) said...

Holly!! I think it's awesome that you went into elementary education. I have lots of respect for those people, as it takes a lot of patience that I don't always have. I can't write on whiteboards well either. My handwriting is waay too tiny. :)

Kristen said...

I would love to know you secret to handling a classroom of kids?! I find it hard to manage my two kids! Great career though!

Patrice said...

Yay for you Holly! Teachers are one of the most needed people because what would we do without them?! I used to dream of being a teacher when I was younger, but I guess I changed my mind when I got older! Good for you for taking this career path! :D

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