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News from Baylor School of Education

Rebakah Tate, BSEd ’18 — First-Year Teacher Reflection

Rebekah Tate, BSEd ’18, Arlington High School, Arlington ISD
Ninth Grade Algebra 1
UIL Number Sense Sponsor / May 2019 Teacher of the Month

All in all, no sugarcoating, my first-year experience was wonderful. That’s not to say there weren’t some incredibly rough days (with maybe a few tears), where I lost a lot of faith in my myself and my abilities. People tell you teaching isn’t easy. But you can’t really know until you have 28 freshmen in your class, only three are paying attention, no one will stop talking, technology ceases working, someone needs a Band-aid, 10 kids need a pencil and you have 5, someone just cussed someone else out, and right when you get everyone settled and somewhat paying attention, the phone rings and everyone gets off task again… and that’s only the first 30 minutes of first period.

Ms. Tate showing the horseshoe symbol for the Arlington High Colts; she is an AHS alumna and a third-generation Colt!

Honestly though, the high school math classroom is the place I know I am called to be, and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else.

Managing behavior is TOUGH. Building a relationship with the student whose behavior is tough and seeing them open up and succeed, not only in the classroom but also in life, is AWESOME. Sometimes kids will surprise you. The “toughest” student may just need to know that someone cares about them. The student who has “never been good at math” just needs to know that it’s okay to make mistakes. This does not happen overnight. I repeat, it’s rarely instant, but it is awesome when they get there.

The SOE never failed to remind me that every student deserves to be heard and they deserve a chance — a chance at education and the opportunities it brings. Baylor professors taught me to meet the student where they are, because that’s the only place they can truly be.

Being in four different schools while in Baylor SOE was an incredible insight into how different schools, classrooms, and students are. No one day is the same, and the idea of “going with the flow” is a way of life, in a positive way! Baylor taught me that it’s okay to mess up. A lesson doesn’t go well? Figure out a new way to do it. Make a game plan. Re-teach. I cannot be perfect every day, and I, in turn, cannot expect my students to either. We all have our off days. I came into my classroom with confidence in myself and how to think on my feet. I also came into my first job knowing that failure is an amazing way to learn and try again!

Teaching is a rollercoaster. Fast then slow. Paperwork and state testing. Breakthroughs and student “lightbulb moments”! Balancing content with life lessons. Fixing the copier you accidentally jammed. Having a broken and hurting heart when you see what some students face every day in this world. Beaming when students help each other and build connections. Finding a teacher best friend to rely on!

It’s unexpected. It’s awesome. It’s naming the plant in your room Jerry and witnessing Jerry completely and positively change the culture in your room! (Yes, seriously. Jerry the plant is loved by ALL.) It’s discussing the Hawaiian alphabet because of a student question. It’s the smile on a kid’s face when they learn that all of their hard work paid off and they crushed the last test they took!

I am very thankful to have had the opportunities I had at Baylor to learn strategies, acquire resources, practice teaching, and dive into the world of education, but I am thankful (most of all) that the professors, mentors, and faculty in the School of Education met me where I was and encouraged me to never stop growing, learning, and striving for excellence (not perfection).