One of the classes I have been taking this semester is Educational Psychology, the first class in the Education program at Hope. Part of the class is a lecture twice a week, and the other portion is a field placement in a local elementary school. For the past 10 weeks, I have had the joyful blessing of getting to know some amazing kindergarteners at one of the elementary schools in the greater Holland area.
Becoming a teacher is something I have thought about since I was a little girl. The thought of having my own classroom and teaching students excited me. As I got older, I pushed teaching to the side as I considered other professions, such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or marine biologist. By the time I Ieft high school, I was pretty settled on majoring in French and political science, and then going on to have a career in government or journalism. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my mom over spring break that I began to think about teaching again. I signed up for Educational Psychology for the fall semester, and here I am!
Hope’s Education program is unique from other schools in that you get placed into a real classroom in your first education class, that way you can get some knowledge early on if teaching is right for you or not. At some other schools, you don’t have a field placement until your junior year, and by then it’s too late to change your major. Luckily for me, I have loved every day of my field placement and have realized that education is something I want to pursue.
From the first day I entered the classroom, the kids were so welcoming of me. None of them hesitated to ask me to push them on the swings, or talk about how they went shopping with their mom and dad over the weekend. Being around kids so young is like a breath of fresh air because the only people I’m surrounded by are either my classmates or working professionals. It has also given me an opportunity to truly realize how much we learned in kindergarten. It may be hard to think about now, but there was a time in your life when you couldn’t read these words, count to 100, or name the colors of a rainbow. Even though I have only been going once a week for 10 weeks, I have seen these kids make so much progress in their learning and classroom behavior. There is one little boy in particular who could barely sit still in class in the beginning of the semester, and now he can sit through almost an entire lesson. We should go back to our kindergarten teachers and thank them for all they taught us!
I wasn’t expecting to love the kids as much as I do, but somewhere along the journey, they worked their way into my heart. Sometimes I look at them and wonder what kind of people they’ll turn out to be, and if they’ll make good choices in their lives. Weird, I know. Being around them makes me excited for the day I will have my own classroom and will be able to make an impact on the lives of my students. I can’t wait!