I believe I have a purpose and that is to teach. Growing up I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted to do as an adult. I was the quiet one who was often missed and unseen in class. I didn’t feel like I had a purpose in life. I met my husband in High school and I married him at the age of 23 and the following year I had my son. I worked and I no longer thought about college and five years later I welcomed my daughter. After she came into the world I stayed home and often wondered what life would have been like if I had gone to college. What would I be doing and would I be happy? When my daughter started school I soon found myself looking to get back to work and I decided to get a job working at her elementary school.
I started as a one on one Paraprofessional the first year and this is where my journey began and would continue for eight more years and counting. During this time I would start attending classes at Lansing Community College. This is where I started to learn what is needed to be a teacher and where I began working towards my associate’s degree. Working with children who have special abilities opened up my eyes to so much. I felt a passion and as the years went on I knew this was where I was meant to be. I started using some of skills I learned at LCC with the students I worked with as a paraprofessional. I noticed changes in the way children were in the classroom they behaved and listened. I started asking more open ended questions and learning more about their likes and the things that bothered them and what dreams they had. I continued to work as a paraprofessional for 8 years and at the beginning of my ninth year working at the school, I made a change to become an associate preschool teacher within the GSRP program at the school I worked. As an associate teacher, I found more ways to use the skills I was taught and how to incorporate them into the classroom. I used serve and return interactions, talking to the kids and waiting to hear their responses. I found ways to encourage children to try new things, ask questions and be engaged in the classroom.
Here at LCC I have learned the importance of play with children and how play helps young children learn to interact with their peers by learning to take turns, share and express their emotions. Play helps children to learn how things in the world work. I love teaching about inclusion and creating a place where all children feel accepted and wanted. I have worked on creating an environment where all children can feel accepted. I have observed children and taken anecdotal records to share with their parents and to also help me see the areas they may struggle. I have learned more about children’s interests and how to incorporate those interests into the classroom. I have learned to be positive and teach without using the words no or don’t. I have learned to teach children by creating a curriculum that is geared towards their interests and their needs. These are just a couple of the things I have learned and continue to learn. I will miss LCC and the teachers who have taught me more about myself and have shown me a way to work with all kids. I will be receiving my associate’s degree this spring in Early Childhood Education and I will use what I have learned now and in the future because, I believe I have a purpose and that is to teach.