For future teachers, learning never ends

Published by adviser, Author: Stephani Damato - Commentary, Date: November 20, 2014

Since I was a little girl, I knew teaching was what I wanted to do. At age seven, I would sit in my two-year-old sister’s room and utilize my miniature blackboard in order to educate her on basic mathematical equations. As I proceeded through high school, I learned to admire my teachers more and more, particularly my English teachers. It was exciting to me to learn about literature and participate in the various activities that engaged us in the language we speak. By tenth grade, I was nearly jealous of my English teacher while she was teaching us Romeo and Juliet. I wanted to be up at the front of the class teaching instead of in my seat learning. I wanted to conduct the class. I wanted to explain the different literary terms and devices to my classmates. That is when I knew for sure I was going to find an amazing English education program to apply to. I found exactly what I was looking for immediately at Slippery Rock University. 

My time at SRU has been amazing. I am graduating next month with a Bachelor’s degree in secondary English education. Currently, I am student teaching a grade 10 English course at Shenango High School. It is precisely what I thought teaching would be. Still, I am constantly learning alongside my students. It is amazing to me how much more you can learn by teaching concepts to other people. My students are talented and intelligent, and they consistently surprise me with their projects and assignments they complete for the different units I’ve taught. I started the semester with teaching the Holocaust, then moved on to Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, then a unit on a poetry, then an independent reading, and now, currently, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The rich discussion we conduct in class lets me leave the school day feeling invigorated and accomplished.

Of course I still have a lot to learn. As teachers, we are on a roller-coaster of never-ending learning. We are never done with our job. It is impossible for us to go home and leave work behind, because it isn’t only a job, it is a passion. It is a career I am incredibly lucky to be transitioning into. Some students are harder to engage, some days are more difficult than others, and sometimes lessons do not go as you expected. That is the miraculous thing about teaching, however. You pick yourself up, tell yourself you’ll fix your mistakes, and approach the next class with a new understanding and a revitalized outlook instead of a defeated one. We are the warriors of knowledge, and I know that personally my job in life is never over as long as there is a child in search and/or need of education. English is capable of many things, and in the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”


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