In just three weeks, I have become a teacher. Not one with certificates or advanced pedagogy. Just ‘Teacher’. The bittersweet moment where the students unmute at the end of class yelling, “Bye Teacher“, and “Thank you Teacher“, is something that has such sentiment. The effort I put into planning lessons and getting the students involved has extra meaning in those moments. The number of questions throughout each class has left me astounded, and I always learn something from my students. Is that what being a teacher is? Being amazed by your students and always growing because of them? My perception of a teacher had been much different growing up, but I have a profound sense of gratitude and bewilderment by this experience.
With each thank you from a student, I find that I am so thankful for this experience. I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions through my teaching time. Some of my ideologies were challenged. Each virtual session we had leading up to classes would build on the reasons we serve. The way Outreach360’s Development Director, Audrey Sharp, framed the professional development sessions helped to form a teaching ideology for interacting with our students; but I’ll be able to use this in my future ambitions and goals too. With these transferable skills, this experience was an excellent bridge to my graduate school experience.
I came to the realization that I wanted to become a professor during my last experience with Outreach360. While the environment during my teaching experiences with this organization are vastly different from a post-secondary teaching experience, I know that the classroom setting is where I belong. Being a student for so long, it may appear as a continuation of what I’ve always known, but I know this is where I am meant to be. By being a teacher and professor, I can have a tremendous impact on the world through inspiring future generations of scientists. My research endeavors around plant pathology can have a larger impact by spreading knowledge through students and I’m looking forward to everything after my volunteering. After this final week I will begin my packing and a few spontaneous adventures before heading to Ithaca in July!
Here’s to another week in Jinotega! Cheers!