20 Reasons I Love My Elementary Education Major

It took me a really long time to figure out what major I wanted to declare in college. I felt, and I still feel, that eighteen is too young to decide what career path to choose. While many students change their major many times, I’ve never been casual about choosing and switching my major. I’ve always felt that choosing a major is a declaration of how your life will be lived. Choosing one major over another impacts the trajectory of your life in every way. Your career dictates where you live, your income, your ability to have a family, and many other elements of a person’s life.

After lots and lots of rumination and investigation, I chose a major: elementary education. I took a few prerequisite classes and realized I LIKE my major. This year, I’ve started taking my “upper division” courses, meaning that all of the classes I’m taking are major specific. Never again do I have to take a college algebra, American history, or statistics class… THANK GOODNESS!!! Because I’m now in major specific classes, I’ve come to realize that I LOVE majoring in elementary education! I’m sure you’re wondering why I love my major and being a pre-professional teacher so much, so I’m going to tell you! If you feel a list coming on, you’re right! Here goes:

20. Getting to look silly with your students while you dance around with them to the “Days of the Week Song.”

19. Being able to come home with funny stories everyday because kids really do do the funniest things.

18. Being able to learn from experienced teachers that have made inconceivable impacts in the lives of so many students.

17. The plethora of children’s books.

16. Being in a career that keeps you on your toes with ever evolving innovations and ingenuity.

15. Having the ability to be creative.

14. Connecting with families.

13. Watching the look on the face of a child when the “light bulb goes on.”

12. Being part of a career where there is a close network of supportive professionals to gain ideas from and give ideas to.

11. Increasing confidence in your ability to speak publicly and off-the-cuff.

10. The satisfaction of feeling like you executed a successful lesson that had the students really enthused.

9. The love and appreciation your students show you with hugs and thanks.

8. Learning to be an excellent problem solver.

7. Setting up an appealing, fun, warm, welcoming, and education-rich classroom.

6. Being able to share cute stories and tidbits with your students.

5. Watching your students become totally captivated by a good book.

4. The opportunity to learn from your students.

3. Watching students develop intellectually and become excited about learning.

2. Inspiring students to be the very best version of themselves and helping them to realize their full potential.

1. Knowing that you have the ability to mold the minds of students who have the potential to go so far. Every future neurosurgeon, president, Supreme Court justice, and every other professional walk through the doors of a teacher.

We’re living in a time when every motivation to become a teacher is being removed. Teachers are having their rights stripped of them, their benefits slashed, and their pay depleted. Nevertheless, the idea of being a teacher excites me in every way and I am not discouraged by the removal of so many of our impetuses to become a teacher. I love being an elementary education major and I love being a pre-professional teacher. The idea of preparing my classroom for the first day of school and the first day of “mind-molding” is so exciting to me! I’m glad I waited to pick my major because I know I’m headed in the right direction.  

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The Cupcakes I Made

Last month my sister and I visited our friend Shira at her home in Atlanta. Unfortunately, due to distance, school, and time, our visits are few and far between. Luckily for me, though, Shira and her mom, Debra, have come down to Florida for vacation and they were able to join my family and me for Friday night dinner. In honor of their visit, Jessie (my sister) and I made red velvet cupcakes. We used a boxed mix for the cake but made a really simple cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

The cupcakes were delicious and a hit with my friends and family! I think there’s something very powerful about food. Obviously, we need it for nourishment, but food also seems to be a kind of glue. I truly think we bond over food!

College and the Quarter-Life: Lessons You Won’t Learn in the Classroom 101

I’d like to preface this post by saying that I truly think you will learn so much more outside of the classroom than you will in it (of course, the content is different in nature). I’d like to add that I’m no life expert, so don’t think that this list of five life lessons means I know much of anything… I don’t!! Living will be the greatest teacher and these are just a few pieces of wisdom I’ve gathered along the way!

Happy living! 🙂 🙂 🙂

1)   You, and only you, are your best advocate.

Friends and family create a wonderful support system and I’m not suggesting that they do not love you, look out for you, and hope for the best for you- they do. I’ve learned, however, that you are the one who needs to make your voice heard and who needs to take charge. Even if they wanted to, no one else can do that for you.

2)   You aren’t ENTITLED to anything. “Entitlement” doesn’t exist.

Nothing is ever handed to you. Your life is a product of what you have earned.

3)   School comes first. A social life is secondary.

Of course, going out and being with friends is fun, but it’s easy to lose sight of the reason we go to college and take classes… for our education! Our educations are the keys to our futures (it sounds cliché, but you and I both know it’s true!) and while a social life is also beneficial, we need to remember our true purpose for being at college.

4)   Trying to be someone you’re not automatically diminishes your chances of success.

If you don’t want to be yourself why should anyone else want to be with you, work with you, be friends with you, or hire you? Be yourself and everything will fall into place. “Who you are is a declaration of independence in itself!”

5)   The word “no” is a powerful tool… use it.

This is a concept I have had trouble grasping in the past, but once I learned how to say “no” a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It doesn’t make you mean, rude, incompetent, or any other negative thing if you make use of the word “no.” No one will think any less of you because you have a limit. In fact, they’ll probably think, “Wow, they know what they’re doing.” Saying “no” is a strength.

 

Are there any life lessons you’ve learned? Please share them with me!

Friends, Food, Shopping, Family… Perfection!

I went to visit my friend, Shira, and her mom, Debora, in Atlanta this past weekend! We had an AMAZING time catching up and I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such great friends!

I arrived in Atlanta with my sister, Jessie, on Thursday, but we arrived relatively late after an embarrassing airport fiasco so we ate dinner and went home.

We woke up early the next morning to head to downtown Atlanta to see the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.  I have always been a big fan of aquariums, so being in the Georgia Aquarium was such a treat! I especially loved a few exhibits: the albino alligators, the penguins, and the whale sharks! The whale sharks are massive. I was in disbelief of the sheer size of these fish. I think Jessie and Shira got tired of hearing me say, “Wow! Look how huge those fish are!”

Albino Alligator

The Gentle Giants... Whale Shark

Penguin

The World of Coca-Cola was also a really interesting place. I never really thought about how food and drinks (in this specific instance, Coke) are really such a huge part of our society and really can bring people together. My favorite part of the World of Coca-Cola was being able to taste sodas from all over the world. My favorite sodas were from Africa!  I also wreaked havoc in the gift shop… oops! (It’s so touristy, I know!)

World of Coca-Cola

As much fun as I had touring around the big Atlnata attractions, nothing was as much fun as heading back to Shira’s house on Friday night for a family dinner! Shira’s mom, Debora, is a great cook and she treated us to many DELICIOUS dinners while we visited them! It was such a treat to sit down, eat, and laugh together!

Friday was a long touristy day, but Saturday was very special. We spent most of the day visiting with Shira’s grandma, Nana. Nana took us out for breakfast and we went back to her apartment afterward. She showed us pictures and told us stories! Nana is really a very special woman and I loved getting to spend time with her!

After we spent time with Nana, we drove over to Virginia Highlands and did what girls do best… we shopped! This shopping trip was only one of many while we were away… oops, again!

Sunday was yet another great day in Georgia! Once again we woke up early so that we could enjoy more time together! Shira, Jessie, and I set out for Cleveland, Georgia to visit Babyland General, site of the creation of Cabbage Patch Dolls. We’re all young adults so it probably seems funny that we were interested in dolls, but we had a blast! Babyland General is so adorable and we had a great time looking for dolls with our names or our birthdays!

This doll shares my name!

After we finished up at Babyland General, Shira, Jessie, and I drove to a nearby outlet mall (after a lunch mishap that turned out to be a slightly creepy experience) and shopped… again! (For anybody who’s lost count, this is shopping spree number three.)

Unfortunately, we had to leave Atlanta to head home on Monday, but not until after we completed shopping spree number four (I wish I was kidding!)! Saying goodbye was not easy- I definitely didn’t want to leave yet, but I had the very best time with Shira and Debora and leaving only means that I’m getting closer and closer to getting to go back to visiting them again! I’m already looking forward to it!

Me, Shira, and Jessie

In My Next Life, I Want To Be My Dog

Disclaimer: The following statement is not meant to inflict shame or insult upon any of my two-legged loved ones.

I like dogs more than I like most people. This is not to say that I don’t like people or that I put dogs and people in the same category. Let’s get real; obviously dogs are in a higher category than  most people.

My family rescued my beautiful dog, Gracie, about a year and a half ago. She succeeds our family’s princess of a puppy, Sophie, my first love. We have no idea what Gracie’s life enTAILed preceding her entry into our family  and at first we had a hard time connecting with her. She didn’t display affection, act protective, or even respond to us for the most part. We (fondly, of course) referred to her as a “Lug,” because she really didn’t do much of anything.

Of course, with time, patience, and lots of reassurance from us, Gracie has become a part of the family. She is affectionate, protective, and responsive. We love her very much and she clearly loves us in return. Today, however, was an exciting first in my relationship with Gracie because today was the first time she followed me around the house. She walked beside me like the trusty companion she is, and I was touched. I’ve seen her follow closely on the heels of my parents’ feet, but this was a first for me. I felt Gracie’s loyalty and trust more than I have ever before.

I find dogs to be so sincere. In my opinion, they behave the way that humans should behave toward one another. There are so many lessons that we can learn from our dogs and we’d be better people if we acted more like them. If dogs were our teachers we would learn these lessons and more:

  • Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.
  • Take naps.
  • Be loyal.
  • Always be yourself.
  • If something you want is buried, dig until you reach it.
  • When you’re happy, jump around and wag your whole body.
  • Do not bite when a growl will suffice.
  • Take the opportunity to appreciate the small stuff.
  • If someone is having a bad day, sit close and nuzzle them.

In my next life, I hope I have the honor of being as great as my dog. She has taught me how to be a better person, an invaluable lesson.

Endless Love

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance.  They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life.  And, most importantly, cookies.  ~Rudolph Giuliani

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I’ve been truly blessed with the most incredible grandparents a grandchild could ever dream of. They have filled my life with endless love and comfort and I love them all an infinite amount in return. My Poppy (shown in the picture to the right, holding me) passed away a little over a year ago. His passing created a void in my heart that is only filled by my cherished memories of our time together. Today would be his 95th birthday and I know that he is with me every day, a constant driving force in my desire to succeed and thrive. Happy birthday, Poppy! I love you more and more everyday! ❤