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A day in the life

Angela Saoud | Thursday, January 20, 2005

From the time I was five, I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher. I was the child who always wanted to “play school” in real time – from the moment my older brother left the house for the bus until the second he came home. I made sure to play all the important subjects – coloring, snacking, napping and occasionally, the alphabet. I loved playing school. And then last week, it was time for me to give up my childhood vision of school and face reality as a student teacher. Arming myself with novels and poems, newspaper articles and movie clips, I marched into Washington High School in South Bend last Monday thinking I was ready to teach. And I am, but it takes a lot of work. It’s a little known fact that after we all left our high school classrooms, our teachers actually had to do work. And not just a little work. A lot of work. Student teaching means planning lessons for five different periods, waiting in line to use the photocopier to make handouts, writing tests and quizzes (something I always hated) and trying to devise thought provoking lessons that will really help my students to learn something about English and about themselves.While my friends are getting ready to take their Wednesday night nap before hitting State, I’m already in my pajamas, looking to Shakespeare for inspiration or discovering ways to entice my students into writing a research paper. The task is daunting to say the least. I feel as though I have more pressure placed on me now than I have ever felt before – because if I make a mistake this time, I’m letting down 125 high school seniors and myself.And as my friends sleep in late, and my presence on campus diminishes, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. But it only takes one smile from a student in the hallway, one “Hey Miss S” to let me know my heart is in the classroom with my students – although it occasionally slips away to my college life.To say my life has changed this semester would be a vast understatement. I’m in the classroom every day, leaving me a lot less time to be on campus and with my friends. But when a student writes something amazingly insightful in an essay question or says something so profound I wish I had thought of it, I get a feeling inside that I’ve yet to feel anywhere else – a feeling that says no matter how much work I have, or how little sleep I get or that if my social life becomes non-existent, it’s not going to matter. And when I walk into the classroom next Monday, ready to teach for the entire day, I’m going to be more than ready. Because when I’m teaching, I am home.