Well this last semester of undergraduate work is winding down. I have less than two weeks of student teaching left and I find that I have to admit – I am going to miss the kids. I’ve enjoyed being with these ninth graders from Union County High School, and they’ve taught me a great deal of what it means to teach.
But now it’s time for graduation and the end of undergraduate work. Yet, it’s not going to be the end of my learning experience. I’ve been accepted to Clemson’s graduate program. I also found out today that I was awarded a Fellowship. I was proud and excited to be one of the ten students chosen nationally for this Fellowship. I’m also excited because it means that the beginning to a new chapter is opening in my life. I’m looking forward to summer because now I can concentrate on finishing Book Two of Legends of Green Isle, “The Mirror Sliver.” Even though I am not very far away from 50, I have this feeling that my life is just beginning.
It has been a long semester. Between working 40 hours student teaching, I’ve been trying to fit working in anytime I can, so I’ve been doing about 60-70 hours and working 7 days a week is getting a little old. I just have to remind myself, I’m almost there.
Graduation is May 4th. I’ve been accepted by Clemson University in their Graduate program with a scholarship and assistantship. Yes, I’m jazzed, just to pooped to jump up and down. I have to say that my respect for teachers has risen. I’ve been teaching, preparing lesson plans, dealing with classroom management, speaking to parents in parent/teacher conferences and so forth. It. Wears. You. Out. Plus there are children who just are difficult to help. They are their own worst enemy and it takes a lot of energy not to give up on them. I’ve found that some students don’t like my teaching style because I’m not entertaining. (Sorry, I want you to learn not be entertained in school.) But it makes it worth while when there are the few who say “thank you” for teaching me something, because I know I’m my own worst enemy and its my fault that my grades aren’t up to parr.
I’m almost there. I say this because going into student teaching I had a much different idea about what I should be doing with teaching. It’s been reversed. I can’t give you all the reasons, except to say that it’s not what I expected and I found that my level of care for their education has grown. I’ve seen a lot of things that I never thought I would have to deal with. Young people whose own parents give up on them, others who don’t have parents who care and live with someone else and those who just don’t have anyone at all; these are the ones who slip through the school system, without really having someone look them in the face and ask questions about who they are, what they want, what their plans are….there is so much more to being a teacher than people realize.
I’m almost there. I think this experience is preparing me for something great, I just don’t know what it is yet. I have found my true calling and it is – Teacher.
It is time. The semester that I have been working for since I started this journey in January of 2010. Student Teaching (Yes, all by myself). I have picked high school history and it shall start January 8th. Am I excited? More like petrified. Not of the kids, but of the fact that I may not teach them one darn thing. What if I bore the crap out of them? Wait, I’ve bored the crap out of many students I’ve tutored, I know. I’ve seen the vacant look in their eyes, kind of like me, the night before a final exam, when all information has left my brain and I freeze in terror that I’ll make a 68 or some other worse grade.
But I am determined to succeed! My Christmas break shall be spent relishing the fact that for me, undergraduate finals are over. Yet now I must conquer the daunting task of filling out the numerous graduate school applications. It’s almost like a test in itself. Writing a personal statement, sending in transcripts, a writing sample, recommendation letters, CV resume, and so much more packed into a week or a day in order for them to tell me “You’re GRE grades are just average! NO ADMITTANCE!”
Yikes! I think I’m going to go bake some cupcakes. I need some comfort food.
The past couple of days I’ve really been thinking a great deal about this word, commitment. This semester is the last semester I have of classes before I do my student teaching and I’ve started to prepare my applications for graduate school. I’ve sent the manuscripts of Book One “The Forgotten Spell” and half of Book Two “The Mirror Sliver” off to Laura Blum Guest of Mariposa Press in France, as she has taken the series under her wing, and agreed to represent Legends of Green Isle as an agent. Things seems to be going pretty good, right. Yet, there are always some kind of bumps in the highway of life. Nothing is ever easy; I learned that a long time ago. My bumps seem to becoming more frequent in that road. Because of my school, I haven’t been able to work a normal 9 to 5 job. I work little part-time gigs when I can fit them in. Recently I spent a day in the hospital where I had to have numerous tests and so forth. I don’t have great insurance, so I cringe every time I open the mailbox. We haven’t been able to make our bills every month without robbing Peter to pay Paul, so the medical bills are going to throw another kink in the works. I wonder how it’s going to be next semester when I won’t have my history intern job or my tutoring job at the school. These thoughts bring me always back to that word commitment.
Are you committed Connie Wallace to see this to the end? And how far does that commitment go?
Yes, that was me talking to myself as I stare at my notebook with my story outlines in them, waiting for me to write. I heave a heavy sigh because right now I’m committed to graduating. It would be easy to allow these bumps to get the better of me and just give up. But I think of my boyfriend who gets up at 4:30 am every morning and drives two hours to work down in Atlanta and then drives the same distance home every night. He is always committed. I need to be the same way.
So, even though money, gas, food may be tight, I need to remind myself that I’m to be committed to finishing. I’m not a quitter. My commitment runs deep. I set goals for myself a long time ago, that I wouldn’t leave this world until I managed to make some kind of mark in it. Whether it be a small one or big one. Let’s hope that the mark stays…as a testimony to my commitment.