We graduate in less than two weeks. It’s amazing to think that in just days I’ll reach a milestone that, at times, I never thought I’d get to. My dad was the first person in my family to go to college. He graduated from CSUN with a BA and then an MA in English, and always stressed the importance of education to me—growing up, I felt like I had no choice, but to do well academically. I attribute my success to him and his constant encouragement. I’ll graduate with a BA in English and a Single Subject Teaching Credential for Secondary Education. I worked significantly hardly for the teaching credential, but I’m proud of the BA as well. The other day, I was talking to my friend about how long we’ve been in school and how the idea of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree really hasn’t sunken in yet. She said she thinks it will sink in once her peers begin registering for school and she doesn’t have to anymore, but I’ll still be registering for graduate classes. I wonder if it will take another two years and then it will all sink in at once that I’m done.
Teaching is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s one of the few careers where you can actually see the impact you’ve made. We’re reading The Great Gatsby in my class and I’ve been trying to get students to see Jay Gatsby in several different lights and to not JUST rely on Nick Carraway’s perception of him. I discussed Nick with my students and then had them write in their journals about Gatsby from Nick’s perspective and then Daisy’s and then their own. This assignment was one that I was completely “winging” and I had very low expectations for the sort of things my students would come up with as evidence to why they came to the conclusions they did about Gatsby. However, I was pleasantly surprised. One of my more social boys read his journal aloud and connected Gatsby to a friend of his. He said that he envies his friend for the things he has, but at the same time he feels bad for him. I asked him why and he said because even though he has “stuff,” he hasn’t got a clue how to enjoy it. At that moment, I felt like my teaching was paying off and that my students were actually learning something. Several other students started to speak up after that and we had an entire discussion about the characters and their various personas. It just goes to show that although I may feel like I’m talking to an empty room sometimes, something is actually getting through to them and they’re learning this text.
Senior Seminar provided me with several tools for teaching my class. I’m actually requiring my 10th grade Honor students to use Google Docs when writing their group skits for their Modest Proposal assignment. They all sit in their groups with the laptops and type up their different scenes on the same document and then add transitions and revise. I haven’t figured out an assignment that involves GoAnimate, but I have years of teaching to incorporate that tool. Overall, I feel like the class was useful because I benefitted from it and, in turn, my students will benefit from it.