I Gotta Check Myself Before I Wreck Myself

I have always lived in Colorado but I moved around pretty consistently which meant I switched schools fairly often as well. I have gone to a variety of private schools, each one more different than the last and each and every teacher affected me and have helped me decide what kind of teacher I not only want to be but mostly what I do not want to be.

I went to a Lutheran elementary school and it was very average. The teachers were nothing special and last semester in my early education classes, I learned that I did not get to do any fun and exciting activities that my classmates would do. In class discussions we would compare experiences and I did not experience anything innovative or really anything that cool and finding this out was honestly very disappointing. There is one teacher that really stands out to me though. His name is Mr. Hart and he was my third grade teacher, and I just did not like him. My school was very small so when students would come through classes that have older siblings, the teachers would obviously notices and I remember my teacher obviously favoring this one student, Cody. I would tell myself that he just knows him really well because of his older sister but looking back on it now, the treatment this student received was probably not okay… There was one instance I remember perfectly; our teacher had told us that if we had braces and picked the colors of his favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings (yellow and purple), we would get extra credit and Cody had gotten yellow and purple braces and gotten extra credit but then when I did it, I did not receive any extra credit. This teacher would also often call on boys more often than girls, which is also super not cool. I know that I personally can choose favorites and I am really worried that I would possibly do this to my students. I am afraid that I will not like a student and just be rude or mean! But I feel like since I am aware of this habit, it will be something I can be conscious of and be able to check myself, before I wreck myself.

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Fast forward to high school, I had this teacher, Mr. Twedell, who I hated but I also loved. He was my senior English teacher and I think he is the one who made me want to be an English teacher. I just really liked his attitude towards the material and how he was able to relate what we were learning about to our lives and our future. We were learning about British Literature and he told us at the beginning of the year that he did not like it but that there were still a lot of beautiful things to learn from it. This is definitely something I would like bring into my classroom because there is going to be aspects of the material that the students will not like and even parts that I will not like, and I think it is good to have transparency between me and my students so if there is something in the curriculum I do not particularly enjoy, I want to be able to tell my students that I do not like but still be able to find ways to enjoy and find meaning from everything. He also told me how much he liked the sonnets I wrote, which was just a huge confidence booster! I do appreciate that when he liked something, he made sure everyone in the class knew, which was kind of hurtful when I would write something I was really proud of and then he would never say anything about it. But either way, I think that is something else I would like to bring into my classroom. I want all my students to support each other so I think using this as a tool will really benefit everyone. But he was another teacher that would often pick on a boy before a girl and he was the football coach so he just had a better relationship with most of the boys in my class. Just like every other school, there was a strict no cell phone rule but one boy would constantly use his phone to watch their football tapes and he would just let them do that. Again, I am afraid that I will choose favorites and make that apparent to the class!

I think often reflection of my personal education is important because I can reflect on what I did not like and what I did like and use that to make my classroom the best possible environment.

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3 thoughts on “I Gotta Check Myself Before I Wreck Myself”

    1. Oh absolutely! I think it is a very personal choice though, obviously; not everyone lets trivial generalizations like class, race, and gender get in the way of their students education.

  1. I love this! I just wrote an essay about my education path and I think it’s important to look back on your education so that you can take positives and leave negatives at the door of your teaching career. I went to a Catholic elementary school and was very limited as to what I learned and did while in school. I wish that I had been given a different experience because I think there was a lot that I didn’t get to learn because of my school’s culture.
    I also think it is important to admit the concerns you have for yourself as a teacher. If you’re unwilling to admit these issues, you probably aren’t willing to fix them either. Realizing that you may like some students more that others is important because you now know you need to avoid that. I’m concerned I will lecture to my students like a lot of my teachers did to me (because it’s easier) so I know that is something I need to make sure I avoid. I think your bringing up a lot of important concerns and I really enjoyed reading this!

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