Reflections from a College Senior

After this Fall semester, I will be leaving the place I have called my home for the last few years. I’ll be backing up my apartment and saying goodbye to my favorite spots like Maize, and Seven Saints. After moving back home I will be starting a new adventure - going back to high school. As I’m preparing to start my student teaching experience away from Urbana-Champaign, I thought I’d reflect on a few things I learned being in education. 

1. High School Teachers can Build or Break Self-Esteem 

I'm not trying to say that someone’s mental health is reliant on your high school teachers, however, teachers can play a large role. When you fail, teachers can do two things. First, they can let you know mistakes are natural and a part of the process and provide actionable feedback for the student to improve; or they can give the student a bad grade, and make them feel like they shouldn’t even try anymore. When high schoolers are made to feel like they shouldn’t even try, that attitude and work ethic can be hard to change, which is why we focus for years on how to build students up in every way. 

2. Not All of Your College Professors are Great Teachers

Now put down your pitchforks, I’m not saying your college education isn’t worth it, or that your professors aren’t incredibly smart, knowledgeable, or deserve respect, because they do. However, I definitely had an inflated view of college professors before I got into college. The thing about being a professor is that not all professors actually want to teach. Most professors, if not all, are also independently working on their own forms of scholarship. Some professors are doing other things like working on completing further degrees, writing books, or publishing papers. Therefore, while some professors enjoy the teaching aspect of their careers, some see it more like something they have to do while they work on their studies. 

3. Through Learning How to Teach, You Will Learn How to be a Better Student

While learning how to teach, not only do you notice areas of improvement with your current teachers, you also learn about how to be a better student. Often when learning how to teach, you learn a multitude of ways to communicate information. This obviously a huge benefit to many different aspects of life! Being in education has forever changed my worldview and changed how I communicate and learn. Think about a teacher you had who taught you something valuable!

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