Why We Keep Going – Putting Students First

By Carina Traub, SED 2016

Photograph Courtesy of Kiera Blessing

Photograph Courtesy of Kiera Blessing

With exam season rapidly approaching, it can be easy to get stuck in an educational rut, a place where everything seems impossible and the thought of writing one more paper makes you want to turn yourself into a blanket burrito. However, looking around the School of Education, I am reminded of why we put in the hours and the effort.

As a future educator, my first impulse for why we keep going is, of course, the students. One afternoon during my pre-practicum, I was doing literacy testing with a little girl, and my own enthusiasm might have been a little off-putting. She would read a passage multiple times and then color a bar on the chart representing her increasing proficiency.

With her third reading, I could not contain my excitement, and I spoke in a rush, “That was excellent! Look at how much you’re improving. You are such a talented reader. You should read to your younger siblings. The cycle of literacy!”

She just laughed and muttered an “Oh, Miss T.,” but we had made reading fun and important. So while I memorize neuroscience terms in preparation for my exam, I will think of her. I will think of how the seemingly endless list of vocabulary will help me to understand the cognitive processes for learning to read, write, and speak.

Another beneficial thing to remember pertains to our purpose here. We work so hard to improve ourselves and to learn so that our students can benefit from having the best possible educators in their classrooms.

Photograph courtesy of Kiera Blessing

Photograph courtesy of Kiera Blessing

I just spent three hours trying to get a document uploader to work for my Computer Science class. As I fought with the computer coding, my mind drifted to 826 Boston, the creative writing center I volunteer for. I thought of the sophomore in high school I had been working with, a bright student willing to tackle geometry, chemistry, English, and humanities in our fleeting hour and a half.

As we leafed through his humanities homework on disabilities, he expressed his frustration reading about all these government acts. I pointed down to the bolded Americans with Disabilities Act and described how the act prevented discrimination in employment based on disability. My student responded that he did not know any disabled people who worked. We then proceeded to have an in-depth discussion on disability in the United States culminating in a dialogue about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), where he exclaimed, “I have one of those!”

So if learning how to write the computer code for a document uploader allows me to one day have an interactive class website where my students can have insightful conversations like the one I had at 826 Boston, then maybe there is a point.

Maybe the reason we carry on is because that one fact that I might memorize may be what helps me connect to a future student. And for me, that is reason enough to keep going.

*Carina Traub is a sophomore in Boston University School of Education studying English education.

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