Monday, April 1, 2013

This is for you, Cassy

Dear Internet (and Cassy),

It was brought to my attention this morning (by my friend Cassy) that I hadn't posted in a while! So I am rectifying that. I have a lot to talk about, anyways.

I don't remember specifically what I mentioned about my practicum experiences in October and December, but, long story short, they were not pleasant experiences. In fact, I may or may not have mentioned this, but I was severely doubting my career choice for a while and felt kind of lost. I guess most people probably go through a phase when they're all like "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIIIIIIIIIFE" but I had never really been at that phase before, and going through it so late in my undergrad career was scary.

But don't panic! I kinda have some of it figured out now. There's still a lot of uncertainty, but I figure that's not so bad because I'm only 21. The bottom line of what I'm thinking right now is going to grad school (or trying, at least) after undergrad to keep my options open. Then when I'm done, I can either go on to do some sort of real-world job, or go back to teaching and make more money (hopefully/probably) than I would have without a master's.Win-win? Next goal: get into grad school. That'll be interesting.

Anywho, let me tell you about how awesome my last 7 weeks have been (January kinda sucked because I was in classes, so I'm going to pretend for the sake of this blog entry that it didn't happen). For 4 weeks in February, I was at practicum yet again. I was dreading it a little because of how discouraging my previous experiences had been, but I tried to retain a bit of hope because I would be at a new school with a new teacher and a new subject. And it's a good thing that I did retain that hope, because it was super awesome! I was teaching computer science, and it was just a super great experience that made me think, "hey, maybe I'm NOT totally wasting my time in undergrad and COULD do this for the rest of my life." I've decided (as I have rambled endlessly about in my copious reflection papers) that it's all got to do with the students in the class. Which may seem obvious, but I don't think you can really fully understand the full scope until you're standing up there and teaching. Even between sections of the same course, students change the entire flow of things. Between math and computer science, there was a HUGE difference. I attribute it to the fact that students who are taking computer science are taking it as an elective and are more likely to be motivated in the class, whereas students are forced to take math and likely do not actually want to be there.

So yeah, computer science teaching is super cool but I won't bore you with it too much because, well, if you're not a teacher then you'll be super bored by my incessant rambling. So I'll move on to the next 3 weeks I had after that, where I was teaching back at my old high school. I actually did very little teaching there (I came at an awkward time in the trimester when they were winding down and preparing for tests/exams), but it was still pretty cool. The 3 or so lessons I got to do in an AP calculus class were so worth the boring downtime I had - I got to teach about slope fields, exponential growth/decay, and, most importantly, DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS. I bored the hell out of them by starting that lesson by rambling about all the different uses for DE's and how they're everywhere and so cool and how sometimes you can't find solutions and sometimes you can and sometimes you can only find properties of solutions blah blah blah. (My favourite part about teaching that class was being able to go full nerd at them.) That particular lesson was another moment of "maybe I can do this" - I realized while rambling to them about math that I just loved being able to share with them all this knowledge that I had, like the knowledge was pointless until I was able to share it with someone. Super corny, I know, but it was just so exhilarating and wonderful to share what I know with them.

Another great aspect of teaching at my old high school was being able to live at home. That was great - I got to hang out with my youngest brother and my parents, whom I don't often see any more because I'm in this whole other country and it's hard to get back on a regular basis. Which is funny because I'll be back the first week of May. Then for a weekend in June. And see them all over the July long weekend. So maybe I see my family more often than I think I do (not to mention I live with that sister person of mine currently). But still! Family is cool.

If you finish reading this and are like, "I totally do not understand all the things she's saying about teaching - she loves it, but doesn't want to do it, or does she hate it.....waaaat", that's kind of how I'm feeling right now, so I'm glad that I was able to accurately convey that for you.

I think it's that moment in my blog post where I realize that I've pretty much said everything that I want to say for now but can't think of a good way to conclude it.



P.S. Do I use the word "super" enough? Wow.

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