The feeling of change is nearly upon us as anxious Grade 12s, looking ahead into whatever summer and fall is forecasting for us.
On June 26 I will be walking across the stage as a Carihi graduate turning into possibly one of the few young adults that has an idea of who they want to become.
I want to be a school teacher.
Why, you might ask, would I choose to be in school for the rest of my life? Well, I have been pondering that question lately and wondered what has drawn me towards education.
Like most children in elementary, our teachers were our idols, who treated us fairly, played games with us, and read stories.
At that young age I looked up to the idea and the stance of a teacher. Someone who is joyful, excitable, and parental.
Madeleine Elson, a new teacher at Carihi, is the daughter of two teachers, and as a teenager she was sure she would not follow that path.
“I went into my undergrad with an open mind,” she said. “At the end of high school I didn’t really think that teaching was one of the options I was going to pursue.”
She pursued a PhD in medieval studies and ended up teaching during her studies.
“You can make it as interesting as you want to,” she added. “I spend a lot of time trying to take creative approaches to lesson planning, I find [teaching] really interesting that way.”
I’ve found the same thing during the summer camps I’ve been involved in and in teaching swimming lessons. These pursuits have also given me experience on how to come up with day plans to stay organized and creative.
The wonderful thing about teaching and being around kids is I have as much opportunity to make their day better as they do for me as the instructor.
During every class there is a little proud moment, something to make us all laugh, or even a little happy-dance moment when the lesson plan went smoothly.
Over the past few years, I have surrounded myself with activities and jobs in recreation that have allowed me to be involved, have fun, and educate children and youth.
One day during my job as a lifeguard at a local pool, my coworker said something quite enlightening. She mentioned how the field of recreation and aquatics attracts the same, like-minded people.
There are the people who work in recreation forever, there are the doctors and nurses, the fitness and therapy enthusiasts, and every so often there is a teacher.
I nodded my head in agreement to this analysis of our staff.
We are like-minded people, who are just crossing paths.
Comparing that to my own grad class, and it seems I am within only a small handful of students diving into education.
Education seems to be one of those areas where people stumble upon it, rather than go searching for it.
There are reasons, experiences, and people who guide us along the way to become an educator.
Last week I was teaching my preschool salamander level class and I heard the most heart-warming thing from a student.
“Before swimming lessons, I felt really scared, but now I feel great!”
That was a very profound statement to hear from a four-year old swimmer who was preparing for a big jump into the pool.
I am very happy with my current education position, teaching in the water.
The successes and strides that children are able to make in just six to 10 sessions is very exciting and makes me proud to do what I do.
These classes have made me want to become an elementary or middle school level teacher.
I enjoy this age and find happiness with the interactions through summer camp play, lesson planning, and teaching new skills over the past year as lifeguard and over the past four as a leader in the community.
These moments in my life have brought me valuable experience and joy.
It does not matter how much experience I have, I believe it matters what I want to do with it.
As the school year is coming to an end, I had a very calming and constructive conversation with a teacher who I have turned to for bits of advice and encouragement over the past two years.
“You know what you want, I think you just need to fly,” Tracy Finksensiep told me honestly. “Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new and different, because if you can teach, you can teach anything.”
It is time to fly. It’s time to work hard and get to a place where I can feel happy and motivated.
High school has been an incredible foundation for life skills, critical thinking, and the base for many ideas and thoughts.
There are many opportunities out there for me, and there are always second and third career choices as options.
Yet I feel as though my number one choice is the one where I can make the most impact, bring change, and be happy every night I go home in the future.
It’ll be an interesting road to get there, but I look forward to going through every minute of young adulthood, hopefully continuing to have a positive impact on the generation coming up behind me.