I’m Tired of Being Told No

Seriously though. I had an awful encounter with my adviser today about my choices for classes and applying to get into the Education Program. According to her, I need to “re-evaluate my choices” about trying to get into the program. Excuse me, but this is only the second time I have applied to the program not the fifth, and I believe it is my choice what I want to graduate with not yours. I would like to graduate with a degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Special Education and a minor in Developmental Disabilities. Below you can read my essay for my application. Considering the essay before this revised one, was given an outstanding the first time I applied, I wonder what they’ll think of my revisions. Here is my Philosophy of Education Essay for my Integrated Elementary Teaching Program application:

Philosophy of Education

            As an Education major, I will be in school forever. Some don’t understand why I want to be in school forever, but I have a passion to teach children.  Education is the basis of everything we do – you can’t get a job without an education, you need to be able to read to anything, and the social skills you acquire in school helps develop as a person.

            As a child I wanted to become a teacher, but that faded as I grew older and sparked different interests including three changes of my major; eventually I figured out I wanted to become a teacher again. I started babysitting at the age of twelve; this led me to spark an interest in working with children. My sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity to be involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program at a local elementary school.  I was a fourth grade girl’s big sister. I went once a week and helped her with homework, did arts and crafts, and played games with the other children in the program.

            The middle of my sophomore year, there was an ad in the school paper for the City of Vacaville Community Services Department to work at the summer camps put on by the community center. I applied and was lucky enough to be hired in May 2010. My first two summers I worked at an outdoor camp called Camp Adobe. We hiked, played games, went to the pool, and made arts and crafts. I was also involved with the community services departments after school program (T.G.I.F) at local elementary schools, my junior and senior year of high school. Through those two years I worked 6th grade dances, Thanksgiving, winter, and Spring Break camps.

            I was moved to another camp my third summer with the City of Vacaville – Camp Splash. I spent my mornings taking thirty kids at a time to swim lessons at the pool and then spending the entire afternoon from one to five p.m. supervising the children during open swim. That school year I started at Nevada, so I did not get to be placed at a site for the after school program, but when I was home on the occasional weekend, I would work the 6th grade dances.

            The summer of 2013 was the summer that solidified wanting to become a teacher. I was transferred from T.G.I.F. to the Gymnastics Department. It was different from the previous work I had done for the City of Vacaville. I was coaching cheer and gymnastics classes everyday as well as running the Gymnastics/Cheer camp every week and working the birthday parties at the gymnastic facility on weekends. I loved teaching the kids how to do things in the sports I loved, which was ultimately the reason why I changed my major to Elementary Education.

            This past summer I was fully indulged with the gymnastics summer camps. My floor supervisor had been on maternity leave and was not back full time, so I picked up the slack. I did everything from answering phones and creating weekly staff schedules to creating the camp curriculum. I also oversaw and had weekly meetings with supervisors to talk about budgets and changes to the camp structure. I never realized the importance of developmentally appropriate practice until cheer camp started with so many different ages and age gaps. I am already making plans for how we can effectively change the program and camp curriculum based on developmentally appropriate practice. I have never been this inspired to change structure and curriculum before.

            Spring semester 2014, I was enrolled in the Education 201 class where we are required to complete a minimum of thirty hours in a classroom setting. I completed my practicum in a 5th grade class. It was much different being in a classroom setting opposed to the camp settings I am used to. I enjoyed my class and the teacher I was placed with.

            I have learned that whether or not you’re in a classroom setting, you’re there for the students. If your students don’t understand something, you modify it in a way that can help them learn the material. As a coach sometimes it is hard to tell students how to do something when you can’t demonstrate it. I remember telling the kids in my class to jump on a spring board onto a giant Port-A-Pit. They were little so they would hop, trip, and then fall onto the pit without ever punching the spring board, so explained it in a way they would understand. I told them to pretend that they were running and jumping into a ginormous bed of pillows, but to get there they had to run and stomp the giant bugs on the springboard. Needless to say, they were doing it perfectly after I explained it to them that way.

            Every school you go to, you will encounter a plethora of diverse students and it is important to keep in mind that you cannot teach one way – you must always help mold and change the way you teach things based on the needs and experiences of your students. In my practicum, for example, one of the students has a severe case of dyslexia, in order to help him do well in school, the teacher or myself would read the material aloud and then he would complete the work orally.

            My experience with children has greatly influenced my passion to become a teacher, but I know my own education will be of great use when teaching. Since I want to teach elementary school, it is a good idea to have knowledge about every subject. Personally I love history – I took AP US History as well as other AP and Honors classes like English – but I thought it would be important to go far in math since it is part of the core curriculum. I went all the way up to AP Stats and have taken four different levels of math classes at the university.

            The Education program at the university thoroughly prepares students to go into the workforce as teachers. I have taken a class for preparing teachers to use technology, a class regarding all forms of school law, and specialized subjects classes for education majors like Biology and Math. I have also declared a minor in Developmental Disabilities to add to my specialization in Special Education.

            As a student looking to become a teacher, the future is scary. I’ve already applied to the program once and been denied, not to mention I received an email on Christmas Day reminding me once again that I did not get into the program. I have worked my butt of to pay for school and living expenses by myself with generous help from financial aid. I work hard in my classes; I go to professors and T.A.’s office hours, I get help from my sorority sisters in subjects I don’t understand. I have no social life outside of school and my sorority – instead I am an avid reader and keep a book blog.

             I have come to feel as though my personal experiences do not matter in the case of getting into the program – only my GPA seems to matter. I have dedicated all of my paying jobs and volunteering to working with children. I spent my Christmas break coaching three weeks of a six week cheer class because my boss asked me to – the parents were sad I had to come back to school, because they felt I was the only coach that seemed to care or have the patience to teach their children. The children I coach and the children I work with at Early Head Start are reasons why I love what I do, and they are the reason I decided this career path.

            Sometimes I’m surprised at myself that I have chosen this career path, not because of it having a bad reputation for not paying a lot, but rather because I absolutely hated elementary school. I had no friends and I was the four-eyed freak that had to wear an eye patch for almost all of elementary school. Looking back now, my classmates were harsh, but my teachers were always there for me. I have thought a lot about what type of school I want to teach in. In all honesty, I really don’t care. I could teach in a private school or a school for the blind (which I kind of want to do), but I’m not choosing this career path for the money, I’m choosing it for the kids. If that means I teach in a school for the blind, awesome. If that means I’m in an inclusive classroom at a public school, perfect. I don’t care where I am as long as I am in love with my job and I am inspiring my students to learn all they can.

            Learning is the key to a happy life. I feel I am always curious about something and need to know why something is happening. I know for a fact that I was that child that always asked four billion questions a day. If you don’t ask the questions, you’re not going to learn. I want students to ask why. I want students to explore and get hands on experience with material. I want students to leave my classroom and continue asking questions and learning everywhere they go. I believe the best teachers are the one who can grab the students’ attention and create this never –ending learning cycle in their students’ lives – those are the teachers that influence their students to become teachers. I will to become that teacher no matter what obstacles are in my way. Children are our future and someone has to teach them, it might as well be me.

Needless to say I just sent a well-stated email to the head adviser, the dean of the College of Education, as well as the University’s Associate Dean of Students about my complaints. Fingers crossed for admission to the program! I am standing my ground. FYI, when I told my mom about my day she started frantically writing an email to the same people and then sent it to me to add to before she sent it to them. Let’s just say her email is not being sent because she sounded like a ranting mother – incomplete/run-on sentences and all – and inconspicuously called my adviser not nice things. So praying I hear good news instead of ‘Sorry sucks to suck’. Have a wonderful day everyone!

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