From Student to Teacher

Hi! My name is Brittany May, and I am an Elementary Education major at the College of William and Mary. This blog is all about my journey through education... the questions I have and the answers I find, as well as lessons learned along the way, in this never-ending learning process of being a student and becoming a teacher. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


As this semester comes to a close and I'm finishing up my finals, it's caused me to stop and reflect on my experience the past few months. It was by far the most challenging semester I've had yet; and at the same time, it was also the most fulfilling and rewarding. I began the education program here at William and Mary with great anticipation and excitement. I was pretty sure I wanted to be a teacher, and I was looking forward to classes that I actually wanted to take.

In one education class in particular, we read a book titled, "The Courage to Teach", by Parker J. Palmer. This book really put into words what I have been feeling in my heart, as well as what I witnessed in some of my professors, whom I consider "good" teachers. Palmer explains,

"Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher." He continues in saying, "The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts- meaning heart in its ancient sense, as the place where intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human self."

I began my classes this semester expecting to learn how to become a good teacher... learning the theories, techniques and the inside scoop on what it takes. And I did learn some of these things. (I still have quite a bit to learn!) But I also learned something even more valuable that wasn't listed in the syllabus or course objectives. The more I studied teaching and education, and the more I observed and talked with teachers, the more I felt I was in the right place. I gained a tremendous sense of belonging, as if this is exactly what I was meant to do with my life. It's an incredible feeling!

I firmly believe that the true meaning of a teacher implies something much greater and more substantial than one who merely executes a job or pursues a profession; it is a vocation. I know I want to pursue teaching, because all the different aspects of my life and my identity seem to fit together for this purpose. My "intellect and emotion and spirit and will" all converge into a passion that comes from the significant meaning I truly find in this profession. I've learned so much this semester, but the greatest lesson has been the continuing discernment of who I am and where my heart is. I've discovered it's in teaching.


At 8:57 AM, Blogger Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

You are an inspiration. Your post touched my heart.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Anne Davis said...

I love Parker Palmer's books. I think teaching is a mission. It makes me soar inside to hear someone speak of teaching in this manner. I know you will make a difference in the lives of children..... I wish you the best.


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