New Semester Means New Beginnings

seedlingBy Sabrina Bong — The past few weeks have been filled with firsts.

I had my first class of my last semester a few days ago. I was asked, for the first time, to stand up in a wedding. And, the best first of all – I had my first day at both the elementary and middle schools.

In order to fulfill my internship requirements and obtain my license, two things need to happen.

The first thing is that I need to pass the Praxis II, which ensures state licensure (I am scared to death about this test!) The second thing is that I need to complete 600 hours of internship in the schools. Usually, it is 200 hours at a high school, 200 at an elementary school, 100 in a middle school, and then 100 hours of flex time, which you can use at whichever school you choose. I had completed 300 hours at the high school level, so it was time for me to start my elementary and middle school experiences.

So far, I have really enjoyed my time at each of the schools. I was surprised that I fell in love with the elementary school so easily. Unlike high school counseling, elementary school is much more focused on teaching. My supervisor, Bridget, and I are in the classroom about five hours a day. At first, I was a little unsure about all the teaching; after all, I chose not to get an undergraduate degree in elementary or secondary education because I was worried about my ability to really teach students. However, I have found that I really enjoy it!

The students are all eager to learn, and they have really welcomed me into their classrooms. This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach the classroom lessons by myself, which was exhilarating. The kids were great and very helpful! The hardest part about elementary so far is learning all 200 students’ names; at least they are all patient!

My middle school experience is also going well so far. I have been able to sit in on a few individual planning conferences and have enjoyed seeing the difference between the middle and the high school in terms of information shared at these meetings. I have also had the chance to meet with a few students individually. Just like at the elementary school, the students have been very welcoming and helpful. The staff is also phenomenal at the middle school. As much as I enjoy the middle school, I do struggle with relating to some of the students I work with. Middle school, for me, feels like it was such a long time ago, and I really need to work on putting myself in their shoes.

I am very excited for all of the new experiences these schools have to offer. I will be meeting new students, helping write curriculum, and may even get the chance to run a few small groups. Even though I miss the relationships I built with the high school, I am looking forward to meeting new people, forming new bonds, and absorbing all the information I can before graduation in May!

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