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  • Rachel Merle-Smith

Transitioning from Training

I remember when I signed up for the training, I felt like it was going to be such a long, hard and strenuous process. While it was definitely strenuous, it flew by in the blink of an eye, leaving me feeling pretty dizzy by the end of it all.

We put in all of these hours of writing lessons, painting our charts, and practice teaching and then we were put out into the world, many of us with moves to plan and new jobs to start. I will never forget my first day of stepping into my classroom. It was like a paralyzing yet exciting emotion paired with my mind repeating, “Where do I start?”.


And so I started, piece by piece, shelf by shelf. I had to move a lot of material downstairs, so a lot of it was physical movement that would eventually create a space. Putting shelves from Ikea together became a normality and dusting and cleaning made the day pass by quickly. Over those days, I remember feeling like it would never come together. But, of course, eventually the room began to take shape. I began to create pockets of joy in corners.


I started with the material I really enjoyed. As I’ve spoken about before, I am a musician so I absolutely adore the music materials. I started with music and after I created that space, I felt my confidence grow.


I remember scouring pictures from my training center and used it as a guide for my own classroom. It aided in my organization and my ability to think through systems and processes. I also started to do lessons, as a child, to make sure that it all made sense. Thinking through every single step is essential in creating a smooth classroom experience for those vivacious elementary children.


Once my environment began to take shape, I started thinking about the class systems. I’ll be honest, this is a problem area for me. Thinking through lunch in a step by step way is something that I do not thrive at. I would honestly say it might be the hardest part for me. Regardless, I remember thinking that it would be a growth opportunity, and it sure was. The thing about systems, is that you never really know how they are going to go until you’re in the thick of it with the children. They teach you so much in those moments. They show you where you can adapt the system for them and also what is working.


In those summer months and in the first couple months of school, I remember being so incredibly tired but so happy to be in the classroom. It was like it all came together from training and then I got the chance to try it out in the classroom. Teaching really is a profession where you have to jump in to really experience it. There isn’t a lecture, a lesson or a book that can teach you everything about being a guide in the classroom and managing all those little beings in your care. It is such a unique job, but one with so much meaning and beauty.


I still feel myself reflecting on my training from time to time. I remember all the little details and all the hardships. But I remember them so fondly as they truly shaped so much of who I am today.





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