Merton School

December 1, 2009
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As I walk down the hallway, I hear the children yelling. I get closer to the first grade classroom I will be in for the next hour. The screams get louder. Classroom doors begin to slam to keep out the noise. As I walk, I dodge first grade kids sprinting past me. They looked familiar. Uh-oh.
Mrs. Czerwonka knew how to keep her class under control and has the ‘fun teacher’ ego. She pushes her students to the next level but also makes time for crafts. This was the teacher I wanted to become. She gave me multiple tasks and instilled trust in me. She and the children are the reason I enjoy coming to this school.
I step into Mrs. Czerwonka’s classroom. Kids scribble on the board, play in the sink, and push each other. Others are fighting, blaming other kids and three of them are crying. I had never seen it this chaotic. Order needed to be restored. How did this happen? I start to talk to the kids.
To my right I hear, “Can you please get the kids in the hallway?” Her voice was breaking. I could see the stress in her face. This was not Mrs. Czerwonka. It was a substitute teacher. I quickly ran to the row of cubbies outside the room. There stood a boy with a bloody knee. “Miss. Linzy?” he said, his voice quivering, “May I go to the health room?”
“Sure. Lucas, can you walk down to the health room with Andrew?”

As easy as Lucas complied, I knew I had only taken care of two out of 21 kids. The other children were scattered about the room. I talked to each child and got them to sit in their seats. After the kids were seated, I announced the necessary chores that needed to be done. Everyone worked together to wipe up the water at the sink, clean the board, and pick up the pencils, crayons and books. I took the three crying children. I asked them to explain what happened. They started to talk and became friends again.

The substitute teacher was relieved. She didn’t know my name, but I could tell she was glad I came. I introduced myself. We then planned out what we were going to do. There was writing, grammar, and social studies to complete.
Looking at the substitute teacher, I could tell she needed a break. I had taught these subjects before with Mrs. Czerwonka and had memorized the routine. I knew what to do but was nervous without Mrs. Czerwonka by my side.

These kids knew me and respected me. They were eager to learn, and loved when I volunteered in their class. I began writing the grammar on the board and I could tell the class did not like what I was doing. They raised their hands and told me what to do differently. This was harder than I thought.
I persisted on until the bell rang. The time had gone by fast, and the assignments were finished. I dismissed the class and started to collect papers. I wanted to keep teaching. Being the teacher for an hour gave me a feeling I couldn’t describe. I was proud I made a difference in the class, helping the kids, making them laugh. That’s what I want to do.
Afterward, the substitute teacher helped me clean up. She thanked me numerous times and offered to give me a ride home. I was just doing my job by helping, but she saw it as more. She told the other teachers and wrote Mrs. Czerwonka a note of my work, “Thank you so much, Linzy. I really appreciate the help.”
The next time I volunteered at the school, Mrs. Czerwonka showed her approval with what I had done by letting me teach. She also handed me an envelope. It was a thank you card from the substitute teacher with candies inside. It was small, but it was this that made my decision easy. I want to become a teacher.

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