As I sit back and reflect over my time as a teacher over the past 4 years I see some major changes. The main thing that I see that has changed is “relationships”. I have begun to build closer and closer relationships with my students and I am finding that this has allowed for me to gain more insight into my students’ lives than anything. One way that I am able to successfully do that is using experiences from my Kenan internship to allow for my students to see their options in the region. So often I get students that have the “I have already given up on life and I am only 15” mentality, but with opening their eyes to what is available around them I have begun to see some changes.
Another “door” that has been opened is I am apart of Leadership Chatuge, which is a meeting of local leaders that allows for us to connect with one another and to allow for us to network even more. This has allowed for me to see even more aspects of problems in my community and ways that I can impact this.
For the Kenan Fellowship I know that it allows for teachers to network and develop their overall understanding, but in small communities like mine it has really allowed for me to “get the ball rolling” more and allowing for the community to be more involved. That being said this makes me VERY excited to see how long I can “ride this wave” and make a positive impact in my tiny, Appalachian community.
Please allow me to take a deep breath after this amazing time at TEAM industries. To sound “cliche” I learned so much during my three week internship. I watched everything from boat motors being created in the beginning stages, all the way to seeing upper-management deal with tough decisions. All throughout my time I brought back countless pieces of information for my classroom, but it is less of what I can interest my students with and less of what I found that hurts industry in the area.
One of the main problems that TEAM faced was finding qualified workers that are willing to come to work on time. Greg mentioned that the two biggest things that a new employee can have is 1) A good work ethic and 2) Come to work on time. This really got my gears turning asking the question “How can I teach these skills in my own classroom?” Curriculum is important, but life skills can carry on for a lifetime. I fell on the classic “lead by example”. This is a good starting point for my students, but this only stretches so far. Then I looked over the complexities of PBL and see that the philosophy behind this can help to enrich these skills even more and can allow for these two skills to develop within the students that I am teaching.
This leads me to my next worry of “HOLY COW THIS WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING THAT I AM DOING!!!”, but this worry is illogical and not based in anything but fear. I know that the industries around here need this, and the region needs this if it is wanting to survive. For this semester I am teaching a brand-new math course and I have ZERO curriculum for it, but I do have a new philosophy of teaching that can be implemented within it. I have dug through standard after standard and I believe that all the “prep-work” that I have done this summer with TEAM will fit seamlessly with the math course.
So heres to trying something new, but stepping out of my comfort zone to set my one insecurities aside to deliver what my students deserve.
As I sit back and think about the first week I am flooded with a mix of emotions. Elated because I have become a part of such an amazing organization, sad because I am leaving behind so many AMAZING educators behind, and overjoyed that we will all be working towards such an amazing goal and working to improve the Kenan fellowship in the Western Region of North Carolina.
I will be starting my internship this coming week and I feel like I am breaking ground for a program that will help to improve the overall educational experience for students that need it so much. I look forward to tackling this challenge with everything that I have and help to do all in my power to our students!
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