Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introductory Speech

What Makes You Tick?
Do you have a passion? My name is Liz and I have had a passion for young children for as long as I can remember. I enjoy working with children, teaching them, and watching them try new things. My passion for children and my knowledge of education inspired me to become a teacher in a private school and teach Kindergarten or Third grade. I know I can use my talents to help children grow, learn, and make a difference in their lives.
In school, I always enjoyed English, Science, and Art. I struggled with Math. I didn’t enjoy that subject until 7th grade when I had a great math teacher. She made math more enjoyable by creating activities to go with each lesson. If a student didn’t understand a concept, she would explain it in multiple different ways. She was always willing to go out of her way to help make sure her students did the best they could.
            When she was my teacher, it was the first time I understood Algebra. It was also the first time I was able to get excited about math class. In high school, I would occasionally go to her house on the weekend for math help. She was very patient and knew how to explain the material in a way I would understand it. She and I have become very close, and I consider her and her family a part of my family. In high school, I started babysitting for her children, and I’ve been able to watch them grow and am honored to be a part of their lives. She has been a tremendous influence as to why I want to become a teacher. She showed me that you can influence a student’s life, make a difference, and be the one to help a student find love for a subject they thought they would never enjoy.
             Growing up, reading was a hobby of mine. I was considered a bookworm. I read books on the school bus, when I’d go for a walk, and I’d stay up late every night because I was so engaged in whatever book I was reading. The older I got the less I read for fun. The books which were chosen for me to read in high school and college had no interest to me so over time I lost interest in reading all together.
After taking a Children’s Literature class a couple years ago, I became a Children’s Literature fanatic. I believe reading to young children is important for many reasons. Not only is reading fun, but books help children develop language skills and provide background knowledge to all subject areas. My entire bookshelf is dedicated to Children’s Literature and for many; I have correlating lesson plans and activities to go with the story. I am constantly ordering books off Amazon, pre- ordering books from my favorite authors, and receiving the new Scholastic book order form makes my day. I love the illustrations, story lines, and memories children’s books include. 
             Good experiences with teachers, a love of learning, and a love for Children’s Literature all made me wonder if a career working with children would be a good fit for me. It was not until I started working with children in a setting outside of babysitting that I discovered it was my calling. I took a job at the YMCA working with children ages 6 weeks to 10 years old. I loved the structured setting and being able to implement curriculum to a group of children whether it was games in the gym, craft, or story time. My job at the Y helped me determine what age I wanted to teach. I enjoyed all the ages, but I felt like I could spend all day with the infants, toddlers, and preschoolers so I chose a degree in Early Childhood Education.
            Now that I have my Associates in Early Childhood Education and am going on for my Bachelor’s at Southwest Minnesota State University I am even more sure that teaching is the right career. I have had the opportunity to work at Sacred Heart as a Preschool paraprofessional and I loved it. I enjoyed watching the children try new things, make new friends, and find a love for learning that will hopefully stick with them for years to come. I took a Kindergarten Methods class and had the opportunity to spend a semester in a Kindergarten classroom. Teaching Kindergarten was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The best experience I had was doing an externship at Sacred Heart with my 3rd grade teacher. I learned a lot from that experience as it was my 1st time in a classroom setting where I was in charge and had to create all the lessons and activities.
            My love for children, hobbies, and the positive influence of numerous people around me has played a vital role in helping me decide to become an Early Childhood Educator. I know I can take my talents and help children grow, learn, and make a difference in their lives.

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