Student teaching has officially ended, which still hasn’t really set in with me. When you dedicate your entire semester of school to teaching full time, everything sort of blends together. I was surprisingly fine with parting with my students, which doesn’t necessarily surprise me because they were not my favorite. As you may know from my past posts, no teacher ever wants to say they have bad students, but sometimes, motivation is the hardest part, and that was my challenge with this long-term placement.
I came out of student teaching with a very good grade, but I still know I have a ton of things I could improve, which is going to be put together in future professional development, which is a given in the education world. In other professions, development happens through experience and how much you invest in the job. For teachers, classes and further education is always around the corner. I’ve met plenty of teachers who say they would be fine with being professional students, because they simply enjoy being in classes and learning more. Not to mention there are always new trends and curriculum improvements that teachers need to learn about, and the most effective teachers are those who are always returning to take classes.
As I consider this, this is the year that I’m supposed to graduate. Due to various complications, graduating in May won’t be possible, but by December I’ll be in the clear. If all goes well, next fall is when I hope to begin my time in the Teach For America corps, wherever I end up. I’m willing to go anywhere, in fact I would like to go somewhere I’ve never been. I plan to work with American students for a while to see the changes that need to happen here before I try to live abroad. My goal is to return to South Africa. Perhaps I could get an advanced degree at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, or even teach at Kingswood College, the exclusive preparatory school that attracts students from all over Africa.
But in South Africa, my heart belonged to the township children who introduced me to their lives and their country. I know regardless of everything, I will want to return to Ikamvalesizwe Combined School in Kenton on Sea, right on the coast if the Indian Ocean outside of the Kariega Game Reserve. Those children in that tiny city captured me and made me never want to stop helping them. I’ve had my fill of the first world, and I know I want to bury my bones in the developing country that stole my heart.