Of all the nuggets in the world, these nuggets will forever hold a place in my heart. Thursday marked the last day of school and of my time as a teacher in Hawaii. Working with these students has taught me not only how to be a teacher, but how to be a friend, a role model, how to multitask like a boss and to love unconditionally. These students and I went through a roller coaster of a year together and we learned and grew from each other so much.
On numerous occasions I have been asked about what I do and when I say that I'm a teacher, I get mixed responses. Often times from parents I get the "wow that must be rough, good on you" and from old friends who are my age I get the "oh, cool" response reflecting the old adage of "those who can't do, teach". But I am so much more than a teacher. Through lessons and discussions I have taught my students about tolerance, appreciation, empathy, and other important social skills. I have been a shoulder to cry on and a lunch buddy for students who needed someone to talk to, or to not get involved with playground drama. I have prepared my students for their future, exposing them to that their path options are for their lives, and that everyone's path is different, and that's okay. While every lesson that I taught may not have always been "common core aligned" or "truly transformational" for their education, I always made sure that they understood why what we were doing was important. If we were practicing brainstorming or discussion skills, I told them about how I would have to brainstorm as an adult, or work in a group setting with colleagues, and how that leads to a productive lifestyle.
These experiences have helped to shape who I am as a teacher, and also as a professional. I have learned that I love being in the classroom with my students, but I also love helping expose them to the world. Access to opportunity is something that Teach For America pushes as one of their key ways to help students grow. This idea has resonated with me the most throughout these years. Moving forward I would love to continue my work with students in whatever way possible, working to better their communities or their lives. I'm not sure where my journey will take me but I'm excited to see what possibilities lie ahead.
Chelsea received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Second Language Studies, and the Department of Language and Literatures of Europe and the Americas, studying French Language.