Now that I am a constant figure in a second grade class, I have a new role to these kids. I am their teacher. Last year when I was student teaching I was there once a week for the first semester. To them, by the time I was there full time I was just a helper and not considered a teacher. My kids now still say you are just an assistant teacher but then when I ask them if that still makes me their teacher, they say yes. I am clearly going places in the world when kids can latch onto that idea.
The biggest thing we struggle with in my classroom of adorable second graders is their mindset. So many of them think they can’t do it and if things get too hard they are more inclined to give up. It is just a little heartbreaking for me. Which leads me to the real point of this blog post.
On October 1st, 2013 I took my first MTEL. For those who don’t know what that acronym means (yes, most or all of the education world is an acronym) it means Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. To get your elementary education license in the state of Massachusetts you need to pass four of these exams. October 1st was the first exam I took. October 28th, 2015 was when I took the last exam I was missing. Moral of the story: it took me over two years to pass the four exams that would grant me my license. Two years. It was horrible. I won’t sugar coat it and I would really like to erase all the painful memories of getting those scores back and seeing that I did not pass.
However, I don’t want to because I learned a really important skill I want to pass onto my students now and in the future. I learned how to stick with something even when I wanted to give up. I learned new strategies to use every time I took the same test (five different times). Eventually it worked in my favor. I gave up a lot of my free time I could have spent doing other things. All of these things I didn’t have to do. I could have said screw it. I could have given up. I didn’t. I cried when I failed time and time again and I celebrated when I passed. On Monday it was an epic celebration. My Facebook status has over 60 likes which is a new record for me.
This journey has been terrible more often than not but it has shown me how rewarding it is to stick with something. I also stuck with it because I had a purpose for going through it: I would be able to do what I loved on the other end of it. Fortunately, I was able to secure a job for this year that I love (without my license) but it is a good feeling to know I finally finished. So, to my future students and my current ones:
Giving up is never the answer for anything. I want you to try your hardest. Show me you tried and that will mean the world to me. I can empathize with struggling with something. I can tell you the story about how long it took me to pass four exams. Now I get to do what I love. I can show you how much it means to me that I tried and did not give up. I get to teach some amazing kids and that is all I could ever ask for as a reward for going through all the struggles I did these past two years.
Am I grateful I am done with them? 100% yes. Would I have done it exactly the same way I did it now if I were re-doing things? Probably. When you are doing something to achieve a passion or something you love, you should try your hardest and don’t give up until you can’t give anymore.
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