Rewind, Dig Deeper…

For this post I wanted to go a little deeper into one of my touchstone moments. The particular moment I want to focus on is when I was a teachers aid in high school. A recap here:

  •  Another juinior year story, I know. But this one is also very important to me. I was an aide for one of my favorite English teachers in high school. And being her aide I was subjected to grading tests, essays, and any other homework that had been assigned. Mostly, I graded 9th grade level work, with a few tenth graders assignments in the pile. I spent a semester doing this for an hour a day. Every day I would sit at the teachers desk and often, painstakingly, mark through assignments and essays with a standard red pen. Marking grammar, writing my thoughts and criticisms in the margins, and often close to tears wondering how these children had made it this far in life without figuring out how to use basic grammar and essay format. I often reminded myself that we all have to start somewhere, and that the standards for learning had changed in the two year gap between myself and those students. When I did this, despite being heartbroken at how those children, at the time, seemed completely idiotic, it allowed me to see just how much work being an English teacher is, and it sparked the desire in me to be a good teacher that is willing just like that teacher was to help mold students into better, literature understanding, writers. This is a touchstone moment for me because despite being beyond frustrated, I more than anything wanted to help better these children. Where most people would have shied away from the task, I embraced it and accepted the challenge for the future.

This moment was one of a few moments for myself that helped me solidify my passion for becoming an English teacher. It felt good to be a teachers aide. Students looked up to me. Students would ask for my advice on how to do better on assignments. Sitting at the teachers desk, talking to students, all felt so natural. From that moment I knew that I wouldn’t mind spending my days talking with students, spreading knowledge about literature, and helping students grow as readers, writers, and citizens. I want to make a difference for my students, I realized in those moments that though it would be hard, I was willing to put in the hours required, because I felt and still feel that the hard hours will be well worth it. Even if I fail at small things, like not always eating the healthiest diet, staying up way, way too late, and not always getting the best possible grade on my own homework. Because a few forgotten physics problems don’t compare to the life and career I’ll have with being an English teacher.

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5 thoughts on “Rewind, Dig Deeper…

  1. “I want to make a difference to my students.”

    That is what it is all about! Students are oh-so-important and deserve to have teachers that are passionate about them and want to help them succeed. It is almost like the best coaching position one can have because as a teacher we get to share knowledge with them and cheer them on as they grow.

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  2. Jaile, I like your passion, and how it stems from the desire to better people. Although, I will say, I have personally adopted a stance about not caring about grammar. Possibly not the best thing for a teacher… but reading your thought on correcting grammar reminded me that I tended to focus more on content than the way it is delivered.

    Back to the point, I think it is changes in the policy that is impacting modern students. Even within a two-year Gap, as you said, students learning is seriously changed. Content has seriously changed. And that needs fixing. And hopefully we’ll get there, as English teachers.

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    1. I myself have tried to loosen my grips on grammar and focus on content, I guess I could have given an example here with part of my frustration that stemmed with that particular group was they would often use text/shorthand abbreviations like bcuz, w/o, ex, etcetera in major assignments and papers, and that would frustrate me immensely. Thanks for your comment I really appreciate it!

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  3. Fantastic post! That is so incredible that you have already had experience in the classroom, and that it only strengthened your passion to teach. I really loved when you mentioned how being in a classroom felt “natural,” because it only shows that teaching is where you belong. It seems like education is exactly what you should be doing, and I think you are going to make a fantastic teacher someday!!!

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  4. I can feel how passionate you really are about helping students find their paths. Even though it’s hard, especially as English majors, to take a step back and realize that grammar isn’t everything when it comes to student’s work. In my opinion, I feel as though it’s more important to look at global issues in writing rather than zeroing in on comma placement when students are struggling to find their written voices. I also agree with you that teaching requires a great deal of hard work but in the end, it’s worth it!

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