My STEP experience consisted of going to Worthington Estates Elementary and running a club called Scratch. Scratch is a computer-coding program for kids that help them learn critical thinking and collaboration skills. My role in this experience was to act as the teacher for this after school club, be a mentor. I taught them how to use the program, and how it connected to critical thinking, collaboration, and skills they could use in everyday life.
My experience impacted me personally in a way that I will never forget it. I got to actually be a teacher, which not many people can say. I got to develop relationships with these children that I was so grateful for. It showed me how much I personally want to be an educator.
My experience impacted my academic goals in the sense that I actually got to teach and got first-hand experience of running my own “class” and how my personal ideals of teaching came to fruition. It also showed me how difficult many aspects of teaching can be. In the sense of my personal goals, it just put me a step closer towards actually becoming an educator and working with children. Actually being able to be in that experience, and getting that feeling of “this is what I want to do” made this experience amazing and makes my drive to become an educator even greater. As far as my life goals, they really match up with my personal goals. I just am so excited that this emphasized my goal of becoming an educator.
The transformation of myself through my STEP experience was all of the interactions I had with the students, and how excited they were! I was expecting only about 25-30 or so students to sign up, and I ended having over 80 students sign up. It was amazing to see that students really wanted to participate in my club that I was starting. While actually running the club and talking with them, you could see their enthusiasm soar and how excited they were to do this. They always had a ton of fun, and always liked to just talk while working, so I got to know more about all of them through this.
A specific event that showed me that I can inspire and engage students was actually when I was babysitting twin boys that were in my club. When I went over there to watch them, I asked them what they wanted to do. Immediately, they ran upstairs and told me to follow. Confused, I went upstairs to see what they wanted to do. Then they showed me their projects on the program we use in the club! They were doing their own side projects without telling me and wanted to show me as a surprise!
After that event, I went back to teaching the club the next week (it was the last week), and it seemed that all the students did the same thing! They wanted to surprise me, so they all made their own projects to show me how much they’ve learned. Some of the students even went above and beyond what we learned and made these incredibly complex programs that blew my mind! It was just such an amazing experience that I will never regret.
I learned so many things during my experience. I developed and learned how to be a better management of time and organization. With only an hour for the club 2 days a week, it really pressed on me to plan accordingly, as well as creating back-up plans in case something went wrong. I also learned how I want my classroom atmosphere to be in the future. This experience gave me a chance to utilize my own teaching style and how I may need to alter it to best fit my ideal philosophy. Sometimes the kids got over-excited, so I had to learn good classroom management techniques to help with that.
These changes/transformations are significant to my life as well because it showed me how passionate I am about my future career. I’ve never been so sure in my life that I am on the right career path. It is also valuable to me because it has shown me that I can be an inspiration to students, and I can engage them in learning with my own style. This whole transformation has supported my personal teaching pedagogy, what I think it means to be a teacher, and that how I want to teach can actually be an effective teaching style. In summary, this whole experience has given me the transformation of being a more confident, risk-taking, and friendly teacher, no matter what grade I end up teaching.