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Upon entering the classroom, my wandering eyes were unfocused, taking in all of the unfamiliar sights: the poster covered walls, the neatly organized desks, and the blue alphabet rug. Twenty children squirmed in their desks, giggling and chattering amongst their friends. Simply standing in the front of the room and smiling, my aunt, Mrs. Mozzochi, gained the attention of the class. With curiosity, I watched her teach even though at only four, I couldn’t understand the information. I listened to her animated voice reading aloud, laughed at her humorous anecdotes, and pondered the idea of having my own classroom. It was these yearly visits to my aunt’s second grade classroom that lit my passion for teaching.
At seven years old, I used this passion to transform my basement into “Danielle’s Cellar School” with desks I helped construct from wood, a chalkboard, and old workbooks donated from my aunt. At Christmas, I was delighted to receive my own overhead projector. For my birthday, I begged my father for a bulletin board. Today, that cellar classroom is still in use as I offer homework help to other students.
In my own classrooms, my passion for teaching continues to present itself. I am constantly learning not only the specific information being taught, but also how it is presented. I ponder how my math teacher motivates and excites students who have little interest in math, and how I can walk into my English room in the beginning of September and leave with confidence analyzing difficult literature. Teachers are my personal heroes, as their passion, like mine, lies in accomplishing the difficult task of motivating, engaging, and shaping the minds of their students.
However, it was not until I took a job as a preschool teacher that I realized the true difficulty involved in teaching. When it was my responsibility to plan and conduct the curriculum, I felt extremely underprepared, but after reading countless articles and speaking with other preschool teachers, I was confident that I would succeed. Coming home from my first day with confetti stuck to my clothes and red scratches across my cheek showed me the reality of teaching young children. My confident ignorance as I walked into the classroom was quickly converted to fear – but even when faced with this adversity, my passion for educating young children prevailed.
My perspective on teaching has changed dramatically since I first saw my aunt as a superhero while visiting her classroom as a four year old. Through experiences with my own teachers, and my short experience as a preschool teacher, I have both witnessed and experienced some of the challenges involved in education. These challenges have only strengthened my resolve and passion for teaching. I am determined to have the same positive impact on children that my aunt has had on her students and on me.
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