CalTeach BS in Chemistry/Teaching Credential, 2014
School of Education
May 1, 2015
“I am surprised by how much I have grown.”
I remember the very first time I taught a lesson to elementary students. It was a disaster. I was too worried about what the students and mentor teachers were thinking, and I let my nervousness overtake my ability to teach. I was very close to giving up and changing careers, but my observer was very sympathetic and rationalized that this was only my first time teaching and that I will only learn and become better from each experience.
The same thing happened when I taught my second lesson to middle school students. I was too nervous, but I was able to carry out the whole lesson as planned. My confidence was still very low, and I had a lot of doubt that I could be a great teacher; but I didn’t give up.
In Cal Teach, we started learning about the Next Generation Science Standards. These standards were one of the driving forces to encourage me to make a difference in the community and to not give up on teaching. I was excited about teaching students to think like a scientist and really engaging the students through inquiry where the lesson is mainly student-centered and hands-on.
The other driving force that encouraged me not to give up on teaching was the community built into Cal Teach. There was so much love and support given, not only from the staff, but also with the students and all the collaboration fostered in the classrooms.
Teaching was definitely a struggle for me initially, but I finally became accustomed to it during student teaching. When I view myself from my very first lesson to what I am now, I am surprised by how much I have grown.
Currently, I teach at Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) in Lawndale and can honestly say that I really love it here. One of the main goals of our school is to empower students to become quality stewards of their community and world. This is achieved by first creating a small community where we practice sustainability and teach students why we should really care about the environment and how it affects us as a community.
Apart from teaching Chemistry at a high school, I really enjoy learning different languages. I currently know Mandarin and Vietnamese and am taking Spanish classes so that I can better communicate and make the parents of English Learners feel comfortable. I am also going to have the wonderful opportunity to teach English in China this summer for a month.
I am truly thankful for all the support given to me at UCI and by my current colleagues at ECHS. The first year of teaching definitely felt like treading water the entire year, but I have really enjoyed the adventures so far. It is extremely rewarding to see students excited about Chemistry and see them understand how things work at a molecular level. I always enjoy learning and will continue to grow and become better each year.