For almost my entire life, I have dreamed of becoming a teacher and having my own classroom one day. Clemson University has been the PERFECT place for me to begin working towards that dream! I am going to walk you through my experiences so far as an Early Childhood Education Major.
Freshman year– ALL the gen-ed classes. My entire freshman year was checking off those basic classes that everyone is required to take. However, I did get a jumpstart on 2 of the math classes required for my major! I was originally declared an Elementary Education major, until the end of my first year when I decided the little one’s stole my heart the most.
Sophomore year– I still had a few more gen-ed classes to take, but this year I began my field placements! My first ever field placement began at a Head Start center. Head Start is a government-funded program, pre-kindergarten for low income families. I spent every Friday for the entire year at the center I was placed at for 4 hours. I grew so close to each and every child in that classroom and from that moment on, I knew teaching was what I was meant to do. My first semester, I was also placed in a 3rd grade classroom where I spent an hour a week every Monday. Going from 4-5 year olds to 8-9 year old kids was a HUGE adjustment for me. I would catch myself using more of my “baby” voice to the 3rd graders and would get some funky looks from them! I thoroughly enjoyed the 3rd graders and all their spunky personalities! My second semester of sophomore year I was finally done with gen-ed classes, and was finally able to focus on my classes devoted to my major! Along with my Head Start placement, I was also in a 1st grade classroom for an hour every week on Tuesday’s! I spent half of my hour, tutoring a little girl one-on-one. We quickly became best friends and would look forward to my Tuesday’s just to see that cutie! First grade immediately felt like home to me, and from then on, I knew which grade I wanted to teach! Spending my last day in each of these classrooms were some of the toughest goodbyes. Every single one of those kids touched my heart, and I will forever remember my time with them!
Junior year– My junior year was filled with my education classes! HALLELUJAH! No more gen-ed classes! To start off my junior year, I was placed in an infant classroom for 2 hours every week, ranging from ages 3 months – 2 years old! I was very thankful to be in this sort of environment with a baby niece on the way in November! I had LOTS of practice with infants, so I was prepared for Peyton! Halfway through the semester, I was then switched to a 4K classroom at an Elementary school and I LOVED it! I had an amazing teacher to shadow so she taught me so much in the 10 weeks I was there for 2 hours at a time! On top of those two placements, I was also in an early intervention classroom once a week for 90 minutes! I also enjoyed this classroom environment because there were only about 5-10 students in the class at a time, so it was easier to connect with each student! This placement was extremely helpful because I was able to learn the necessary skills to identify any possible learning disability a child may have that has not yet been detected. For my second semester junior year, I was in a 3rd grade classroom again but I was going to the class twice a week for 2 hours each visit! I was able to get lots of experience in this classroom and taught my very first lesson on my own! Exciting stuff, I know! Sadly, coronavirus cut my semester short so I was unable to say goodbye to my new friends. However, I was extremely lucky for the time I was able to spend with the teacher and class with the time I had!
Senior year– My senior year may look a little different than what most have experienced. We do not know for sure whether or not we will be in the classrooms in the fall, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that we are! The fall semester, I would be placed in a Kindergarten classroom for 6 weeks for the entire school day, then be in class for 6 weeks only going to my placement on Friday’s, then back and forth. My spring semester would be my student teaching full time in a first grade classroom. With the times that we are in now, I am not sure whether or not I will get the full experiences, but I am hopeful for any opportunity to be in the classroom.
Being an education major is extremely time consuming, but very much worth it! As much time as you put into becoming a teacher, just know that each and every child you interact with will change your life.
If there is anyone out there who has any questions about being an education major, please do not hesitate to ask me! I will give you ALL the information you may be wondering about!