For my Professional Development, Advocacy, and Partnership class, one of our assignments was to write a letter to our future self. If could be after our first year of teaching, when we are 30 or 40 years old, etc. I chose to write to myself after my first year of teaching. This assignment was awesome. As I was writing I realized so many things. 1- My first year of teaching is SO CLOSE! It will be here before I can blink. 2- I’m going to be married SO SOON ❤ 3- I love every single child that I have the opportunity to work with. I can not imagine anything in life that could bring me more joy than working with children every single day. Here is my letter to my future self:
Dear Deserae after your first full year of teaching,
You did it!! You have completed your first year of teaching!! I’m sure the first year was a whirlwind. Not only was it your first year of teaching, but you also got married! I’d imagine that you and Leonard have found a cute townhome in Harrisonburg and are both teaching for the city. What did you end up doing your first year? Teaching in a mainstream elementary school classroom? Teaching ESL at the elementary or middle school level? Teaching in the dual enrollment program at Smithland? Were you able to balance teaching English at the CDA with teaching full time? Did Leonard end up teaching at the middle or high school level this year?
Regardless of where you ended up teaching and what role you played, I hope that you remembered everything you learned throughout your training at JMU. I hope that you took advantage of every opportunity to advocate for ALL of your students, as you have always wanted to do. I hope that you supported your students in every way possible and did not give up on any of them. I hope that you valued your relationship with each of your students, as well as your relationship with their families. I’m sure you did all you could to assist each family in whatever way you were capable in order to make the learning process comfortable and successful for their children. I encourage you to continue advocating for each of your students and their families throughout the years. I also hope that you are active in the Harrisonburg community. You dedicated hours upon hours of your time throughout high school and all throughout college to doing volunteer work and community service in your communities. Although I understand you may feel much busier these days, I encourage you to continue valuing the importance of community involvement and being active and supportive of your community. Remember what you always said….we all have a role to play and a contribution to make in our community!! Also remember what your dad said…if you do not help others, your existence is non-existent.
I hope that you are continuing to support your students, not only in the classroom, but also in activities that are important to them. Go to their sporting events, plays, concerts, etc. It is important for those children to know how much you love and care about each and every one of them. You will soon be starting a family of your own and your children will change your life more than you can imagine. You do not know what love is yet, for you have not yet had children. But until you become a mother yourself, your students are your children. Love them with everything in you and care for them with your whole heart. Even when you have your own children, you students are still your children. Love them, always.
You have always been excited about professional development. When you attended the SW VA TESOL Conference, you were so excited and learned so much. You said that you were excited for all of the professional development opportunities you would be given as a teacher….I hope you have taken advantage of all of those opportunities. No matter how successful you think this year has been, there is always, always room for growth. Your developing is not just for you, it’s for your students. Do everything you can to be the absolute best teacher you can for your kids. Professional development can’t hurt! It could be boring depending on how it is presented, but it could also be what makes you into the teacher you are.
You heard lots of stories throughout college from first year teachers and other teachers about how the first year would be; you heard everything from absolute success to absolute terror. In the now, what would you consider your first year? I know that you are extremely optimistic and like to find the positives in everything, so I cannot imagine you would consider it a complete terror. I hope it was absolutely delightful. But if it wasn’t, that’s okay. I know that you will persevere and continue striving to be the best you can be for your kids. You have wanted to be a teacher since you were a young child and you are finally living your dream. If your first year didn’t go as planned, you need to figure out what to do to make next year better. I know that you touched the lives of your students and there are many, many more children out there who need your love, support, and guidance.
What are your plans for next year? Will you be keeping your same position? Moving to a different position in your school or a different school completely? Have you started working on another degree yet? If not, I know you are at least taking courses at JMU. What classes did you take this year? Have you taken the Spanish Praxis yet so that you can obtain your licensure? Did you have a lot of opportunities to translate and interpret this year? I would imagine you did, and I would imagine you loved every second of that.
Whatever your thoughts and feelings may be as you read this letter, I can confidently state that I know that you absolutely love teaching! Continue learning new things, continue supporting your kids, continue communicating with their families, continue participating in professional development, continue being active in your community, continue chasing your dreams, and most of all, continue loving ALL of your kids.
The inexperienced, yet ambitious and caring you during your senior year of college