Guest post by Julie Dossantos, @TeachMrsDTeach
I came to the teaching profession later in life. Several years ago, I purchased a book to read with my daughter, which would change my view on teaching forever. Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights, written by Malala Yousafzai, is about her experience as a child living in Pakistan. The heart-wrenching story mesmerized us as we read about Mr. Yousafzai’s school in which all students were welcome to attend, including girls. Malala’s account of her aspiration to be educated, despite Taliban oppression and violence, motivated me to continue on my path to continue my own studies and realize my dream to teach. I became the first in my immediate family to graduate college at the age of 42.
The learning process is what inspires me as an educator. When I personally learn a new skill, I go through an entire cycle. Curiosity is first, a question or wondering prompts me to want to learn more. Then I begin the discovery process, digging deeper into the content. Finally, the practice portion takes place. It is in this space I gain confidence and experience. The skill or information I desire becomes part of me. I will now take it with me as I navigate through new experiences.
So it goes with my students and my peers. We are all learners. The learning that transpires every day inspires me. I take great joy in creating excitement towards learning new skills, discovering new ideas, and practicing for mastery with my students. Each lesson, in every content area, provides an opportunity for my students to connect, wonder, and share with others. Observing my own first graders as they tackle new challenges, take risks, and persist inspires me to do the same. There is nothing better than being witness to new knowledge being activated!
I continue to learn from my peers through the many professional development offerings through our school and district, my grade level team, as well as through alternative resources, such as Twitter chats. Learning from other teachers from around the world while seeing their students’ learning in action inspires me on a daily basis. These shared stories remind me to focus on being inspired when I feel tired. What an incredible time to be a teacher!
Julie Dossantos has been an early childhood educator for over 20 years. Before becoming a public school teacher in 2016, Julie worked as a preschool teacher, preschool director, director of children’s ministry, and enrichment services provider. She also was a storyteller for over ten years at an independent children’s bookstore. Currently, she enjoys teaching first grade and serving as grade co-chair at an amazing elementary school in Vero Beach, FL.
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