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Making the Transition from Student to Teacher!

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Kimberly Johnson, a recent graduate of the University of North Dakota, is a first-year English teacher at Valley Middle School in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Two weeks down!

In these past two weeks, it has finally dawned on me that this is for real. I think about that often as I stand in my classroom or peer down a busy hallway. This isn't practice anymore. It isn't something I'm doing for college credit. This is the real thing. I have real students. I give real assignments. The grades I give are recorded on real student records.

After years of being a student, I'm now a teacher. I am the adult the students look to for knowledge and guidance. Being the adult means I can't gawk out the windows when there is noise outside or whine when it is too hot in the classroom. I have to be mature and professional. What an adjustment to make!

I knew that teaching was not going to be a walk in the park, but after two weeks, I'm beginning to realize just how difficult it is. I have to constantly watch what I say and do, because how teachers treat children can make a lasting impact on their lives. I have to perform even when the weather is beautiful and I resent being stuck indoors. I have to teach a lesson under any circumstance and keep my students on track after an interruption. I have to teach in spite of the hot temperature of the room. Yesterday I even had to teach after a wasp flew into the room and stung me on the arm. It's hard to talk about guide words and phonetic spelling when all you're thinking is, "Oh, please, don't let me have an allergic reaction to this sting!"

Sometimes it's hard to be the grown up. But when a student gives me a piece of candy she's been saving for me or a student comes to me after school to ask for help, I suddenly don't mind having to be the adult. I don't mind that this is the real thing. My students are worth enduring the hot classroom and working through the painful wasp sting. They're worth the hours of planning and grading.

After just two weeks, I feel that I've found my niche. If only that niche could be air-conditioned and wasp-free...

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Article by Kimberly Johnson
Education World®
Copyright © 2001 Education World

9/14/2001