Humans of 21st Century Schools New Teachers and Student Teachers' Perspectives

Melissa Mallian

2nd year Fourth Grade Teacher

"The most important thing I've learned as a new teacher is that relationships matter. In order to reach your students, they have to trust you. They're not always going to like you, but they should always be able to trust you. You can plan the best, most engaging lessons possible, but if you don't know your students and show them that you care, those hours that you spent preparing will be for nothing. So show up, listen up, tear up (hopefully from laughter) and your students will grow up to be successful, life-long learners."

AShley Jenkins

Student-Teaching Third Grade

"Betsy DeVos is toxic to America's public schools, which sounds like a political commentary, but its not. Keeping public money in public schools should not be an issue we even need to discuss. My students deserve an advocate and a champion, not someone who sees them as tools in a money making machine."

AMy SUdol

2nd Year FIrst Grade Teacher

"I think the most overlooked part of teaching today is the importance of Instructional Assistants. They provide crucial interventions for my student, help with discipline, and help keep the classroom running smoothly. Mine has had to go out on leave this year and I can definitely tell a difference in my students basic reading skills since she left."

Melissa Walsh

Student-Teaching EigHth Grade

"Twenty-first century schools are an amazing thing to be a part of. The students' enthusiasm for learning and the integration of technology in the classroom allows for individualized lessons that peak student interest. I think overall, education is becoming an increasingly globalized experience. The classroom has turned into an avenue for gaining world perspective and appreciate the experiences of not only students' own communities, but a generational perspective that spans across cities, states, and even countries."

Erika Martin

2nd year kindergarten Teacher


"When I tell people I teach kindergarten, they usually say 'Oh, how fun!'. I'm pretty sure those people don't realize what spending 6+ hours with 21 five-year olds is like. It is so frustrating, taxing, and emotionally exhausting. It takes absolutely everything out of you. And that is just on the good days!

One day last week, one of my students was just having a hard day. He was being silly, not focused, playing during literacy center time, and got in trouble for throwing food in the cafeteria. Right after lunch, we have math. I told him that he needed to make better choices so he could learn everything I wanted to teach him. He sat down, and I taught my planned mini-lesson for the day. My class would be working with a buddy to use manipulatives, white boards and markers (A LOT to handle all at once for my little people) to find the partners of 5. We talked about being responsible and respectful in the classroom before we split up and began investigating.

The best thing about having an un-even numbered class is that 1 student always gets to work with me. So naturally, the student who had been acting out previously, and also not paying attention to the directions or the lesson for the day, was the lucky one selected to work with me. We sat in front of all the materials and I showed him again what to do. He kept coming up with random numbers, and clearly hadn't understood the math concept we were working on (this was day 3 of learning the same concept, by the way). So I let him practice by himself while I went to check on the other students.

After about 5 minutes, I heard this scream from across the room- "MS. MARTIN! MS. MARTIN!". And of course, it was my friend. And he has the biggest grin on his face. It looked like he might burst with excitement. I came over, reminding him that we don't use outside voices in the classroom. He just looked at me and sad, "Ms. Martin, I think I get it now!!" with the cutest, proudest, most excited look on his face. I had him show me and explain his thinking, and sure enough he was right. He had figured it out. I told him how proud of his hard work I was, and his face just lit up. And I'm telling you, there aren't words to describe what that feels like. That is what teaching kindergarten is really like. Long, exhausting, frustrating days. But sometimes, I guess it is a little fun."


Created with images by giovannacco - "cellular education classroom"

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