Who I Am: The Person, The Student, The Teacher

Who am I as a person?

I am a senior Secondary Education-English major at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I grew up in and around Charlotte, NC with my close-knit family and friends.

Most people who know me well call me Jess. It’s easier, simpler, and less formal. I’m not one of those people who asks the teacher to change my name on their roster, but if it’s not a teacher calling me “Jessica,” I feel like I’ve done something wrong.

I love to sing ridiculously loud in the shower, watch movies (ranging from chick flicks to Stars Wars and The Avengers), and watch T.V. series like Downton Abbey, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and Mad Men. Yeah, the spectrum is pretty large for me. As an English major, it might be self-evident, but I also love to read…popular and classic fiction. I appreciate a good Austen novel and chick-lit all at the same time. The brain can’t be “high functioning” all the time, right?

I strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t always work out that way. My guilty pleasures used to include cream soda, Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, Oreo’s, and Kraft Mac & Cheese (not at the same time, though). Those items have been ruled out in my gluten-free diet, which I began mid September. However, I’m never opposed to healthy food. It’s all delicious. I’m trying to discover a love for running… I’m just not there yet. Jillian Michaels is pretty good at kicking my butt into gear when it comes to cardio and ab work in a way that’s much more manageable for me…most days.

Who am I as a student?

As a high school student, I was a very active learner and participated in school functions on a ridiculously regular basis. I was “that kid” in all the clubs with all the leadership roles, seeking to make a difference.

At Appalachian State, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be a Teaching Fellow, be involved in campus ministries, and help plant a new church in Boone. It has been a fantastic experience to say the least, and it’s strange to think that a year from now it will all be over. While I don’t think I will ever stop learning, it will be strange (but exciting) to not be the one in the desk taking notes, but instead the one giving the lecture.

Who am I as a teacher?

I am excited to be so close to fulfilling my dream and my calling. I have felt a tug on my heart to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I was the kid who taught an imaginary class, created my own tests about the plot and characters of Star Wars and quizzed my “students” on a regular basis. I would borrow one of my mom’s Bic red pens, grade their quizzes, and begin again. I taught the stuffed bunnies and bears, baby dolls and Barbie’s all I knew about Junie B. Jones, the ABC’s, and Laura from Little House on the Prairie. I avoided teaching them addition and subtraction, because those were unnecessary evils I could not imagine putting anyone up against—particularly my beloved “students.”

My mom was an English teacher for twenty-five years, and everyone says my career path is just one of the many ways I resemble her. I’ve watched her lead discussions about John Steinbeck’s East of Eden with a fire in her eye, and celebrate with students when they finally understand the concept of subject-verb agreement. I’ve known since I can remember that I wanted to be a teacher. In my mind, there was no other option; nothing else could ever compare. Since then, I have gained even more of an understanding of why I’m going to be a teacher. It’s my calling.

In just one short year, I will have the amazing opportunity to reach my students and teach them life lessons in the midst of teaching them about Shakespeare and gerund phrases. My classroom will be my mission field. I could tell you all about how much I love my subject matter, because I do very much. However, I will never believe that the content I teach is the most important. I will have the unique responsibility to teach my students important life lessons through the
texts they read, and the discussions we have about the characters. We will tackle the good and evil inside of the characters, the confusing sentence structures and “thee’s and “thou’s” sprinkled throughout Renaissance texts. But we will also embrace morality, diversity, respect, and so many other things that don’t appear in any other subject matter.
(If someone can show me the morality of long division or anything related to Algebra II, I will take that sentence back. So far, however, it is yet to be disproved.)

I couldn’t be more thrilled or ready to get into my own classroom. But I still have a semester (and a half) left in college, which is okay too. I have that time to learn more about how to benefit my students, as well as make an impact on those around me so that they can make a difference in kids’ lives too. It’s going to be a great last “run”, and I cannot wait to experience all I still have to learn before entering the realm of teaching.

For more random and entertaining quirks, check out the About Me  page.

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