This I Believe

Jennifer - Sarver, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

An Everyday Gift

I believe in my students.

By: Jennifer Latronica

When I decided to become a teacher, I was adamant that I would only teach high school students. I would tell friends and professors that I only wanted to teach students who knew the basics and were ready to be challenged. I wanted to teach the A.P. classes, to work with the best and the brightest. Throughout my student teaching experience, I did work with predominately A.P. twelfth grade students, and I enjoyed it immensely. However, when I began to apply for jobs, I found none that were what I was looking for, and after interviewing for positions that I wasn’t thrilled about, I was forced to substitute teach for a year.

During that time, I found few high school assignments that I enjoyed; the students were rude and did their best to take advantage of a 22 year old substitute. I lamented my current situation and I didn’t know what to do. Finally, I agreed to take a substitute job as a seventh grade teacher; this changed my life. After this experience, I knew I wanted to be a middle school teacher.

As a middle school teacher, I am faced with many challenges. I have diverse learners with many different needs in my class. I have students that are phenomenally gifted, and I have students that struggle to master basic concepts. I have extremely wealthy students that have traveled the world, and I have students that cannot afford basic necessities. Even though these differences make my job challenging, it is my students who make my job an everyday blessing.

I believe in my students. I am in awe of the excitement that they bring to the classroom. Their true enthusiasm and joy for learning and life is something that I try to emulate every day. My students greet me with smiles on their faces and a readiness to accept the new challenges ahead.

I believe in their acceptance of difference. Regardless of race, creed, socioeconomic status, or mental challenge, my students accept and care for one another. They try to include everyone in classroom activities, and they look for students without groups to work with and include them. Their belief in human kind is inspiring. They are confused by the ideas of prejudice and cannot comprehend that women in the Middle East do not have rights or that people lose their homes and have nowhere to go.

Knowing that my students, with their love, passion, and enthusiasm, will one day become adults that help make our world a better place gives me a feeling of security. Our nation is blessed to have such wonderful children preparing to change the world, and I am so blessed to have them in my classroom every day.