Thursday, October 7, 2010

Being in the El Ed Program...

Elementary Education. One of the most mocked majors on most college campuses I would guess. It definitely is on mine. Oh how I wish they could just be in the major for a week.

I did not understand what I was getting myself into when I decided my freshmen year of college that I was going to double major in Elementary Education and Early Childhood. I thought this was the reasonable choice as one day I did want to start my own pre school, so I could be at home with my kids and still bring in an income, but knew that I could not do that right out of college. So I thought, "Well it will be nice to have the wide range of options for starting my career right after I get my degree." So I decided to do both. Hah, how brilliant of me!

My Pre schoolers from a couple years back...aren't they adorable?!

Although most people scoff and mock when I tell them I have to read 60 picture books in a week, or make a table top theater, or create a sock puppet and develop it's character, or write an entire art unit to span a 2 month period, or design my own music book complete with lyrics, hand drawn pictures and at least 10 pages for homework....they in all reality have no idea.

All those examples came from my "Arts Semester" last semester. This semester is my first practicum. Also known as our literacy practicum.  Most of our subject matter revolves around teaching children how to read. This is a difficult task. I sometimes have nightmares about teaching children and all of them leaving not knowing how to read and coming back to tell me how I screwed up their about stressful. I do not think people really step back and evaluate who has had such a large impact on where they have gotten in their lives today.

You would not believe how often I am told, "Elementary Education...way too take the easy way out." If they only knew... How difficult a task it is too keep a running record while children read. If they only knew how difficult it is to write lesson plans; with 4 different models to appease all of your different teachers. If they only knew how difficult it is to decide when to use guided reading/writing, interactive reading/writing, shared reading/writing, independent reading/writing in the classroom and when to choose a different one. How difficult it is to teach math. Base ten, algorithms, fractions, numbers, conservation of numbers etc. Being able to explain why and how to teach it in multiple ways as to make sure those that are not the 'typical' learners are also able to grasp the concept. Teachers bring them their first experience learning about the community, the state, the US and the world. You have to teach inquiry learning and get them excited to learn science. All those things are so important and we have not even touched on the example teachers are leaving for their students! Teachers are spending more time with them per day, while awake, than their parents are. What caliber of person are you? Teaching them to love and become a lifelong learner and helping to determine and define their future.

Taking the easy way out? Not the first thought that comes to my mind.

Just maybe it is one of the hardest professions? Maybe...

We are told in every single one of our classes that we have chosen the most challenging profession. I feel like often times our teachers practice speeches they are going to give us, to try and scare us out of our major. So why are we doing it? Why have we signed up to work 19 hour days, where work comes home with us and follows us around on the weekends? Why have we agreed to be so much more than just a teacher of academics in all of these children's lives? Why have we decided that taking 18 credits a semester and having zero social life, because homework consumes your every waking moment, is a good idea?

I can tell you one thing, it is definitely not for the big bucks! Starting Utah teachers are making a whopping 27 grand a year, and that is if you are lucky! (Wyoming is where it's at, 1st year teacher: $42,000. Sign me up!) It is definitely not because we automatically get summers off. No, that is not it, because that is mostly not true. Nor is it because we get 2 recesses during the day...although I am real stoked to have recess again! ;)

No, it is because I want to make a difference. I want to be the kind of teacher that as my students get older write papers on because I was someone they thought highly of. I want to change lives. I want to have the love and adoration of 28 some odd children each year, and have them come back and visit me and tell me news that is going on in their lives. I want to gain new best friends every single year. I want to be a person that children trust and can come to if something in their life is not right. I want to be the one who makes them want to be a better person and them me. I want to be changed, every day by something that my adorable children teach me.

And that, that is why I am going to be a teacher. That is why the stress and heartache of my schooling will be worth it. Now, it is my job every day to remember. 

President Monson said,
"The teacher not only shapes the expectations and ambitions of her pupils, but she also influences their attitudes toward their future and themselves. If she is unskilled, she leaves scars on the lives of youth, cuts deeply into their self-esteem, and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if she loves her students and has high expectations of them, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop, and their future will be assured. The influence of teachers in fashioning personality and in shaping careers can hardly be overestimated. It makes no difference whether or not she or he is teaching literature or mathematics or science or any other subject of the curriculum. The teacher must win from students the faith that moves mountains. When the teacher succeeds, near-miracles happen. Suddenly a pupil is awakened to an enthusiastic interest in some aspect of learning and begins to read widely without being urged. Another discovers in himself powers that he did not know he had. Another decides to seek better companions. In a flash of inspiration, still another makes a decision that leads to a lifetime career. The impelling force, the dynamo, in that room is very often a quiet, gracious personality with love in her heart for her young charges, a love never directly referred to, but there always."

What an INCREDIBLE opportunity and responsibility! 
Am I up and qualified for it? 
Man, I sure hope so!


The Swank Family

Awesome!!! You put it so perfectly. Thanks for all the honesty...if anyone has been through an education program to become a teacher, they know how grueling it is. I agree full heartedly with you, in all aspects! You hit the nail on the head. Keep up the hard will pay off! Love keeping up with you on your blog. Thanks for sharing!!

Lynae Nae

Kendra, I have no doubt that you will be that teacher that does all of those things for your kids. You are going to make an amazing teacher. :) Thanks for reminding those of us that still have a long while to go why we started in the first place. Yay for Elementary Ed Majors!!


Oh Kendra! What a wonderful post. Funny, I picked anthropology for all the reasons people thought you picked El ed...jk. I remember the papers, and papers, and books, and STUFF Jill had to do--and yes she was stressed out. But she knew it was what she wanted to do--they make sure of that at BYU. The graduates from your department have some of the greatest determination to succeed, and the most sincere "I know what I am getting into--and yet i still choose it" drive to actually do something for the world. Teachers truly help families. I can't wait for my children to have teachers like you.

Larissa Lynn

I love love love it. I hope you teach my kids :) THe world needs more teachers like you!


You are definitely overly qualified! You're going to be the best teacher anybody has ever had and every child is going to love...just like EVERYBODY already does! You just have that effect of people! :)

Elyse & Dale

I agree 10 million times over! You put it all so great. Teaching is HARD and they are so underappreciated. Teachers are mothers, doctors, therapists, counselors, physocologists, teachers...etc, etc. You have so many responsibilities! You will be an amazing teacher. AMAZING.


And that is why they SHOULD pay you the big bucks!!!! You are SOOOO great!


:) Yes. thank you thank you thank you. We will have the best job ever because we'll be constantly learning from our students. We are definitely blessed. Love you-what a great post.

Katie Marie

oh my gosh kendra. best. post. ever. i want to share this with everyone. so...i'm gonna. :)


I'm getting my masters in secondary education right now and agree whole heartedly with everything you posted here. My cousin posted this site on facebook to look at and it is soo true!! Props to all those teachers out there!! We are the future generations hope!! Remember that!!!


Go Kendra! I know I don't know all the feelings but I can understand a little from my experience as a substitute. I worried ALL day if they understood decimals and if I messed them up for good. Keep it up!

Jared and Keri

I got mocked a bit too for being a RMYL major.
You are going to be an incredible teacher. My kids would love you, oh wait they already do.


Kendra, why are you the best? I cannot tell you how big and ridiculous the grin on my face was as a read this post. Oh the dilemma of infinitely diverse lesson plan models! Guided v. shared reading! Running Records! (Oh wait, actually I don't know how hard that is because I haven't done that one yet...oops...) And don't get me started on fractions. Cutting friends in half to give them all the same amount of cake! Oh, the things they didn't tell us when we declared "Elementary Education"... But I could not agree with you more. It is all worth it to know that one or 501 students could be influenced in our classrooms for the better. I'm just glad we get to go through this together... :) Love you, Kendra.


This was great for me to read! I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little kid, instead I chose pharmacy. I often think to myself, "why didn't I take the easy road?" Well let me tell you.. from what it sounds like that would not have been the easy road for me! It's a good thing we are all so different and can do different things! I would not make a good teacher, I am not creative like that! You are completely cut out for this job and you will do excellent!! =]


Amen sister!


I am moving my future children to wherever you are teaching. I don't know anyone who is better qualified to change lives. Love your face and all of you and can't wait to see you next week!!


Kendra Haynie,
Yes I am a stalker and will be from here on out :) Loving your blog! And this post is genius...I mean just sitting in one class with JY and receiving one her papers back made me want to change majors. Ha just kidding. You are awesome Kendra! Can't wait to see ya again!
Abby Bess

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