Courtney Jenkins is a hero in the classroom. She teaches 5th grade students English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science in the Nebo School District. Read more about her gratitude for this difficult--but fulfilling-- experience.
What was your internship experience?
I am a 5th grade teacher in my own classroom. I teach 29 students all subjects (English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science) and work closely with my team, facilitator, and BYU mentors to improve my teaching and planning skills.
I have gone to meetings that have helped me to improve my teaching skills as well as my ability to connect and relate to my students. I have dealt with parents and built relationships with them so that they trust me to teach their children to my best ability. As a result, I have put my whole heart into my students. I give them everything that I have and try to ensure that they feel that school is a safe environment for them to come to.
I try to teach life skills, such as kindness and empathy. I have learned that being a teacher is so much more than teaching. It is about being a role model, therapist, mediator, caregiver, and sometimes a baby sitter. But mostly, it is a chance to learn from so many people, including my own students. I have learned more being a teacher than I could have ever learned in a classroom. I have learned that we are all different and we have different needs. I have learned that if you don’t have motivation you can’t be forced to learn something. I have learned that learning doesn’t have to be rote memorization; it can be fun and relatable to life.
This internship has made me into a better person, and it has shown me that knowledge is as lifelong pursuit.
What was the most important thing that you learned during this experience?
Life gets hard, but it doesn't mean that you should give up. I was shocked that this was so hard, and I considered researching different jobs. But life isn't supposed to be easy. We are supposed to learn and grow.
How did your classes prepare you for this experience?
They prepared me for the teaching aspect, but they didn't prepare me for working with other people. BYU classes don't teach you how to grade or what to grade. They don't teach you what to do when a parent is upset with you. They don't teach you how to deal with a coworker that isn't very agreeable. They don't teach you how to handle students that don't have good home lives. They don't teach you how to deal with students that get in a fight on the playground. But how can they? It's all about life experience.
I would have loved to hear more personal experiences from all of my teachers.I learned how to build relationships with parents and with my coworkers. I also learned how to dress professionally and act professionally. I learned how to speak with authority and command respect but to also show kindness and empathy. I learned that students like boundaries. I learned about showing up to meetings. I learned that it's better to be grateful than to complain all the time.