There are so many horrible, depressing experiences posted on Teach for Us that when I was accepted to the corps last November, I became terrified of October and the first semester of school a year before it had even began. I am here to share my experiences thus far in TFA and to show whoever is out there panicking about your first few months that for some people being a first year teacher is AWESOME, and I am one of those people. If you don’t read anything more, I just want to tell you that, yes, you will survive and probably thrive. I am forever grateful for TFA for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime. Yes, I work from 5am until I go to bed at 9pm but I love my students so much that I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.
A couple years ago, if you had told me I’d be a high school math teacher I never would have believed you. I was an economics major and thought that I would obviously go into investment banking or some career where I would make a lot of money. Boy was I wrong. TFA is the only reason I have become a teacher and I am forever grateful for this organization to showing me the career I am meant to do for the rest of my life.
Now for my story as a teacher. I teach geometry & trigonometry at a large, public high school in Las Vegas. I thought being so young would be a disadvantage when teaching high school students but surprisingly, it has been just the opposite. They trust me and my youthfulness makes some of the most dull and advanced math subjects fun. My classroom is as neon bright as a kindergarten classroom but my students are learning like true mathematicians. My students feel that they can relate to me and they confide in me. I feel as though I’ve earned their respect, so our classroom runs incredibly smoothly. My senior students self-manage the classroom which is always a joy to witness.
I have the most wonderful administration to support me and truly the most incredible students who make my job the best in the world. I think the ultimate key to my success and happiness is the hours upon hours I spent preparing my classroom vision before I had ever graduated college. My classroom culture is one I am extremely proud of and my students tell me everyday how happy they are to be in class. They also tell me that they feel they have never truly understood math before my class. Their previous skills are very weak so I spend countless hours catching them up while also trying to advance them past a typical student their age. While I am still finding my balance, I feel as though I am doing a pretty damn good job. I walk out of my classroom doors everyday so incredibly honored to be a teacher to my students and itching to do more to ensure they thrive. I know my work is never done, but that is the fuel that keeps me going everyday. I am already dreading June because I don’t know how I’m going to say good-bye to the amazing group of students I am lucky to teach.
Teaching is definitely the most challenging job in the world, but no matter how difficult it gets, I will never, ever give up on my students.