Growing up in a small town, I was not in a position where I had to make many new contacts with people that I had not grown up with. I do not know if this was the main reason why I became a very shy person, but I think it had a very big impact on me. I was never one to speak out in class situations or to make conversation very often. I mainly kept to myself and did my work. I had very outgoing friends who were way louder and more outspoken than me. One friend in particular had a huge impact on me coming out of my shell and becoming less shy.
In grade five, my friend Jessica and I had heard about our schools debate club. It was too late for us to sign up that year, but we had promised each other that we would sign up the following year. Soon enough, grade six had come and there was an intercom message about when and where to sign up for the debate club. Jessica really wanted to join, so I said I would as well considering she would need a partner. We put our names on the sign-up list during our last recess of the day and that is when everything changed for me.
Although there was no teacher in charge of the club anymore, one of the older club members considered asking my mother – who was a grade two teacher at our school – to lead the club. My mother and I were unaware of what debating even consisted of, so the first year mainly entailed my mother, Jessica, and I learning the basics of debate. We learned from the older students much of the basic fundamentals, but we also attended many workshops and had previous debate club members help us along the way.
Debate mainly entailed building arguments for or against a given statement and presenting these arguments in front of another team, along with judges and audience members. The goal was to be persuasive, no matter what side of the statement you were arguing. There was a lot of speaking involved, therefore I was always very nervous and felt unprepared. I was never good at improvisation or elaborating beyond what I had written down, so my first year of being in debate was difficult for me as we could not have a written script. Although there was not a lot of people usually in the audience, speaking in front of people in general was very hard for me. Jessica and I continued with debate each year until grade eight even though the first two years were hard for us.
Our last year in debate was our best year as we had finally figured out what we were supposed to do. At our last tournament, Jessica and I had won second place for our grade level and Jessica got a third-place speaking award also for our grade level. This was the only time we had ever gotten any type of award for debate and we were very proud of ourselves as our hard work and dedication finally paid off.
There was not a distinct moment that helped me escape my shyness in debate, but the practice of presenting and formally arguing in front of an audience boosted my confidence as I entered high school. I was no longer afraid of class presentations and I gained more speaking skills that I would have never have gotten the chance to otherwise. To this day, I have outgrown most of my shy aspects, with the exception of a few. I am proud to say that I have become a more confident, and sociable person as I am now in university. I still struggle to share my thoughts in large groups of people, especially in my classes with a large number of people, but I have come a long way since elementary school. I no longer fear to be approached by new people or to be put in groups with people that I do not know.
Every week day, I wake up at 6:45am to get ready for my school day. This year, I have a wonderful class of grade one students. They make me so happy and they make me look forward to going to school every day. I love seeing their faces glow when we do something fun and I love hearing their stories.
I have been a teacher for 5 years now and I have had many ups and downs. I am beginning to get the hang of things now but I still rely on my colleagues for some assistance here and there. Teaching has been a dream of mine since I was six-years-old and it has been everything I have ever wanted. The students make everything worth it. I love to see how I am helping them grow and develop in many different ways and to know that I am actually having a huge impact on their lives.
My favourite subject to teach is math because I have always liked math. It’s interesting to see how the student’s progress their math skills throughout the year. Coming into grade one from kindergarten is a hard transition in many aspects, especially in math though. The students have barely any background in math, therefore the first few lessons always seem to be the most difficult. The students are progressing at a perfect rate so I am very pleased.
Reading is a little more challenging for my class this year. We are progressing at a slower rate than I normally expect, but we are trying our best. I have noticed that it is not always easy for certain groups of students to progress at the expected rate for reading, therefore I am not overly concerned. I have been putting more emphasis on their home reading plans that I have established with the parents, so I expect things to start improving over the next few weeks.
Throughout my few years of teaching, I have witnessed many students that have obstacles beyond what is expected of them in the classroom. I have always focused on making sure that my students feel comfortable and safe in my classroom, and to ensure that they know there are others around the classroom and school that can help them with their personal issues as well as their schoolwork. I never want a student to feel like they have no one to talk to because that often leads to tragic events. Because so much time is spent at school, I do not want any student to fear coming to school every day. I want them to instead enjoy their time spent at school knowing that they will not be harmed in any way. I try to ensure that when there are issues with relationships in the classroom that every student is not afraid to share their thoughts and emotions. This helps to improve the students ability to communicate with each other and to problem solve among each other as well.
I hope to continue to make a difference in my students lives and to really be there for them whether it is a school related issue or a personal issue. I also hope to extend this gesture out to more than my own students, but to all students within my student body. I remember my grade eleven and twelve math teacher who would go out of his way to ensure that everyone knew that they could talk to him about anything. He was the most caring and compassionate teacher in my school. I really aspire to be like him in that way because I know how difficult life can get and how alone you may feel at some points in your life.
There are really three basic goals I have for myself as I progress my career. I hope to provide meaningful knowledge to my children, I hope to be there for them and offer my support whenever it is required, and I also want to be a positive role model for them. I think I would be happy with myself knowing that I am offering these three basic supports to my students.
In the grand scheme of life, the present doesn’t seem to be the most important thing all the time. In my opinion, the present is equally important as the past and the future. The present is a reflection of how the past has influenced a person, and it is also a reflection of what your future will entail.
My present shows how I have grown up and also shows how I would like my present to be. Currently, I am a university student who is pursuing an Education degree. This is a reflection on how I have grown up because my mother is also a teacher. My mom has been my role model since I was in grade one. That is the year that I realized that I wanted to be like her. Throughout my elementary years and into my high school years, I did everything that I could to ensure that I would be accepted into the Faculty of Education. Now that I am currently in the faculty, I am working hard to secure my future as an educator. This is also a reflection on how I would like my future to be. I love working with children and I want to make a difference in people’s lives as well.
As I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, there are many things that have influenced who I currently am. First off, I am living a very privileged life. Most things are very attainable for me and I have many good opportunities that lots of people don’t have. My town that I grew up in ensured that things were attainable for everyone and that everyone had good opportunities whether those were about education or if they were about extra-curricular activities within school or outside of school. Another way that my small town has influenced me is by not giving me a realistic view of visible minorities in society. Coming to university, I endured a huge change as there are many different religions, cultures, and languages everywhere. I was not prepared for this change in my life as I have been surrounded mostly by people of my own race all of my life. This is something I currently struggle with because there is so much more to know about the world than what I have experienced in my town and I would really like to put myself out there and get to know other cultures and religions, rather than just my own.
My upbringing also has a huge influence on who I am today. I identify as a heterosexual female. With this being considered as the societal ‘norm’, I find myself struggling with the uprising of the LGBTQ community and all it entails. Because my parents and grandparents did not grow up with this idea of gender diversity and even sexual diversity for that matter, I find it hard to truly learn about it because everyone in my life seems so against it. I find it hard to discuss political events that are about the LGBTQ community with my family because lots of my family are against the idea and refuse to be educated about it.
Also, my upbringing has influence who I am religiously as well. With both of my parents not following any religion, I do not either. This is also something I struggle with a bit living in a society that is mostly Catholic/Christian. Many things in my life are related to the Catholic belief system and I find it hard to discuss things often because of my lack of religious knowledge. Although I celebrate religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, I do not have religious ties to these holidays. Many of my friends attend church ceremonies on Christmas Eve while I spend time with my family because of our non-religious beliefs.
My past and my future are a direct influence on the person I am today. I am proud of the person I have become and I hope to continue to make a difference in my own life and in the lives of others.