“And I’m supposed to teach them?”

'I think I'm going to throw up.'

Senior year of college meant getting into the classroom and actually teaching. This meant two student teaching opportunities. I had signed up as being interested in secondary education, so my field placement would be at the high school level.

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The theory of teaching

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The education department at my college boasted that they got future teachers in the classroom earlier than other programs.

I trusted that claim. I trusted that it would mean practical experience early on.

Turns out, though, that we had different expectations for what getting in the classroom meant.

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Life is more than drafting a hypothesis

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I love these images! They’re relevant for illustrating the idea of sitting with questions and letting them almost hold you hostage, rather than as a starting point for consideration and then action.

At the start of junior year, I continued going to daily Mass, even though I no longer had 8 a.m. classes. I had come to appreciate the benefits of beginning my day in this way.

On my birthday, I remember contemplating once again if I was being called to religious life. With a brother in seminary, that question popped up more frequently.

In the middle of this internal questioning, a religious sister walked in the chapel. I had never seen her before. What does this mean? And then another entered. And another. Maybe seven total. Ok, God, is this a coincidence or are you trying to give me an answer? I was always questioning. There was no sense of being at peace and allowing things to unfold. I obsessed about wanting clear answers.

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Makeup, teaching, and leaving my mark

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Between my junior and senior year in high school is when I officially tried makeup. Mom took me to a Mary Kay demonstration, so I had some exposure to proper application. I had been given many makeup kits as gifts over the years. That seemed to be the go-to gift for a teenage girl.

To a degree I could see how, applied well, the makeup enhanced rather than overwhelmed a look. But I also was aware of people who refused to leave their house without makeup, and I didn’t want to become that dependent.

The poking and prodding of eye liner was lost on me, though. It seemed impossible to get used to. Getting that close to my eye. I could barely tolerate someone applying it for me, so I just didn’t mess with it. And yet I felt that was a pretty important element for definition, especially when combined with eye shadow.

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4 poems: Creating a persona

One concrete example of being competent and in charge of an English class group assignment happened during 11th grade.

I was in the regular version of this English class, not AP. I remember receiving a bit of flack about that from the teacher, who was fully convinced I was taking the easy way out by not going for his AP class.

Anyway, we had a group project where we had to create a persona, create the background of a character: who this person is, what they are doing. And then somehow we needed to tie in some type of literary piece. This was an English class, after all, so it wasn’t merely about writing a paper; it required some creativity.

I know our group settled on a female student who was studying different key events in history or was at least interested in history. We decided to create a journal for her where she reacted to various moments in history. Somehow we created journal entries and then also established that she wrote poetry. Yes, I’m sure the poetry aspect was all me, but I was happy to volunteer to make that writing my responsibility.

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