Semester Nostalgia: UPRM Student-Teacher's First Teaching Experience

As the semester comes to a close, us students of the Teacher Preparation Program at UPRM are wrapping up our students’ grades and putting the finishing touches on our thick portfolios which document our first semester as teachers. It has been a wild ride for all of us. Here are some of the most memorable experiences throughout our semesters. From our classrooms to your screens:

Paola Rivera

"Going into my practice I was a mixture of anxious but extremely excited. Now finishing my practice I look back and I keep picturing everything I would have done differently, like giving my students more writing related activities. Overall, I'm happy I finally got the chance to interact with students and put to practice all the theory I've been taught and, although it feels bittersweet to say goodbye to my very first students, I'm excited to start my next journey."

Michelle Medina

"When I started teaching I expected it to be challenging and I was right. What I didn't expect was how exciting and rewarding it was. In such a short period of time I was able to connect with my students and find out how talented they were. I worked hard to make my class fun and exciting and in the end my students really appreciated it. I wished I had had more time to work with them and maximize their potential. Overall my teaching practice was a wonderful and unforgettable experience."

Igmarie Mercado

"Completing my student teaching is definitely one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. Since I began this journey, I made sure the workload didn't take away any second of the classroom magic. I've successfully taught Literature, Poetry, and Drama to twenty-seven wild, intelligent students that have shown me a great lesson in perseverance, responsibility and love. The teachers I've collaborated with, my fellow student-teachers and UPRM professors earn a huge part of my gratitude for making it possible to accomplish this lifelong goal. I am blessed to finally be able to say; 'I am a certified English teacher.'"

Wesley Sánchez

"Without a doubt, teaching is one of the most sacrificed yet rewarding professions that exists. Throughout the semester, I had the opportunity of teaching twenty students, and my expectations were very high for us. I was able to not only teach my course material successfully, but also to show my students the importance of education and how it can make a difference in their lives. Although my time was limited, I am proud and happy to have accomplished so much with my students and to have made a positive impact in their lives. Needless to say, I feel grateful and blessed for the experience and everything I took from it: friends, experience, knowledge and so much more; I am more than motivated to continue my preparation and making a difference which is so needed in our system."

Adriana Lebrón

"Going into the classroom the first time, I was a nervous wreck: I could only think about how hard the experience could be. Fortunately, that fear disappeared as the semester progressed; I realized how rewarding the experience was, since I got to teach to twenty-one great high school seniors. Their patience helped me improve day by day and with the help of my cooperative teacher, my student-teacher friends and my advisor, I grew throughout the whole experience. Now I wish I had more time with my students and I hope I gave them all the necessary tools to continue furthering their education. I am grateful for the experience and proud of becoming an English teacher."

Ashlene Lebrón

"My student-teacher experience was, in one word, a whirlwind. I honestly didn't know what to expect at the beginning, but all I ever wanted was to make somewhat of an impact. It's nerve wracking at the beginning, but along the way I realized how fulfilling it is. Of course, every day was not perfect: there were days where my objectives weren't met, but it's all about trial and error. We aren't perfect and even the students know this. They start to get to know you as a teacher and you start earning their respect. By the end, I didn't want to leave them. On my last day, I got into my car and I shed a couple of tears. However, on that day I transitioned from their teacher to a friend, so I know it wasn't goodbye forever. For anyone out there who still needs the push: become a teacher."

Keysalis Fermín (me!)

This semester has been wild. It's unreal how fast it went by. In my teaching practice I had the opportunity to teach at my own high school Alma Mater which for me was the ultimate “circle of life” moment. I have always been interested in using education as the main tool to help our communities thrive and through my practice, I was able to help it become just a bit better by stimulating the minds of the future leaders of our community. I am proud to say I accomplished a lot of the goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the semester. I gained a great deal of experience, I made an impact on my students lives, and most importantly, my love for education grew immensely. This experience has definitely been the most enriching stage of my college career.

Congratulations to all our TPP student-teachers for pushing through this semester and maintaining your sanity through this insane practice we call teaching. Now, it's time to celebrate our certifications!