Bavaneet’s Journey


My journey with teaching began by accident three years ago, when I began to work as an Assistant Director for a tutoring center. This job began as a means to pay for graduate school at the time, when I was earning my MFA in Creative Writing. At first, I stayed mainly in the clerical side of the job, but naturally began to gravitate more towards the teaching and began tutoring some classes myself. Within the first few months of my new job, I had also oriented myself with college counseling and began helping the seniors with their college applications! Many of our students went on to study at prestigious universities! 

The tutoring and mentoring was fulfilling, but only to an extent. The longer I worked there, the less I liked the center and the idea of private education. The families who that tutoring center served hailed from financially privileged backgrounds; they were the only ones who could afford the tuition with private tutors. I wanted to teach and help students who looked like me, thus began offering tutoring lessons, and college application help, to students in my community. Students who, like me, attended public schools, came from immigrant backgrounds, and who had the drive to pursue higher education! It was for this reason that I applied to earn my teaching credential and leave the private education sector. 



Comparing Apples in a Classroom

The world leads us all many different pathways. Some of us are placed in positive and enjoyable situations while other pathways may lead to negative long-term effects. No matter the situation in which we are placed, it is important to come out of the situations with having learned a lesson.

Our role models, while on our journey to teaching, are some of the greatest resources we will have. These people are the models for how we will or maybe will not shape our own classrooms one day. Role models tend to be the people that we lean on when we need assistance. Thy are the people that are always willing to help and offer a welcoming environment.

Since starting my journey to become a teacher, I have worked with many different types of people. Many of these people have created positive working environments not only for me but also for their students. Most recently, while in a second-grade classroom, as an aide, I got partnered up with an outstanding teacher. She has been teaching for over 25 years. I could tell that she is truly passionate about her job. She was there not for a paycheck but for her students. She was a fantastic role model and I know that I can reach out to her anytime I have questions.

On the other hand, we typically come across some bad apples or people who are the opposite of role models, while on our journey. We must learn how to grow from these negative experiences. These experiences will help us to shape who we are and what we want our classroom atmosphere to look like.

Though I have had some great mentors, there have been a few coworkers with which I have learned how not to act. These are usually the workers who are there just for a paycheck and not because they love doing their job. They are usually people I try to avoid unless I really need to ask them a question. Although these role models may not be the ones we lean on for assistance, as future teachers, we can just as easily learn from the bad apples and much as we can learn from the good apples.

Losses to Lessons: the double edged sword in education

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in an environment? Have you ever doubted your ability to be successful based on the opinion of another individual?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, the image below may make sense to you. You have felt excluded, you have felt like your efforts simply weren’t enough, you have felt unkempt. I guess I am here to tell you that the picture of the leg on the left, does not have to look like the leg on the right. In recent literature this has been deemed a “growth mindset” in which these traits or characteristics (i.e., tattered shoes, worn out jeans, distress) are not fixed; they can be changed over time with the right tools and resources.

My greatest loss was the job I got right out of college. Wide-eyed and giddy, I worked endlessly without knowing that I was only contributing to the small hole on the tip of my own shoe. I was not equipped with the teacher toolbox I needed for the position I was in. I failed. And when I failed, I was not met with the grace and courtesy of “it’s okay, let’s help you get to where you need to be…” I was stripped of my sense of belonging in the community. A loss. This sadly led to a vicious cycle of feeling shunned by this community and overall stripped of all of the knowledge I thought I had about education. The principal of this school did not choose to meet me where I was at; she chose to push me out because I failed.

And now as an educator in a master’s program, I look back and hug my younger self for trying the impossible. I kiss the healing wounds of feeling that I was not strong enough to be an educator.

With a tall order of “GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER,” I began searching for answers about what my future career as an educator might look like. What I didn’t realize at the time was that being pushed out of one environment opened another door toward the grace and courtesy I was truly seeking.

Education can take you to incredible places, but you must be willing to reflect on your experience in order to move forward. In order to obtain meaningful success (that is, the approval of yourself). The shoe on the left foot doesn’t have to look like the shoe on the right foot; you can turn your rags to riches.

From rags to riches

A visual depiction of the growth in my educational journey

Lainy’s Journey

My journey to becoming an elementary school teacher started 4 years ago when I made the decision to go back to college for my liberal studies degree. However, when I started grad school, I felt like my real journey was just beginning. Along with starting grad school, I started volunteering in a kindergarten class once a week. So now I am studying to get my MAT and multiple subject credentials along with being in a classroom once a week. As fun and as exciting this new journey has been, I had not anticipated the fear and doubt that would accompany it.


I was very excited to start my MAT/credential program as I was ready to learn how to become a teacher. But my first class did not teach me much about how to become a teacher. It taught me about social justice which I believe is very important to incorporate into the classroom. Yet I worried at how I could dismantle racism in my classroom when I do not even know how to manage a class! How can I teach my students to be antiracist when I don’t even know how to teach them how to read or write?!?! It worried me because I know a multiple subject teacher has to have their class meet so many standards that I didn’t know how I would have the time to incorporate social justice.Does anyone care about the social and emotional needs of teachers?

I have anxiety and I am an over thinker so these thoughts overwhelmed me. I became so frustrated that I broke down and called my boyfriend’s mom, Janet, who has been a teacher for 20 years. She reassured me that not only is it normal to cry in grad school, it is important. Janet explained how she felt very overwhelmed her first year teaching as she had a hard time getting the students to listen to her. She told me that becoming a teacher is hard and validated my feelings. But she also told me that teaching was an amazing job and I already had two major qualities that would help me be a great teacher. Janet said that I have great organization skills and a love for children. With those qualities, she said I was already a step above many teachers that have been teaching for years. Since I called her frustrated that my class wasn’t necessarily teaching me how to teach in the way I had hoped, we went through my class schedule together. She told me that in the classes for my master’s degree I will deal with more of the theoretical aspects of teaching such as social justice. Janet understood my frustration as she went through the same thing in grad school. She said when you first start a program you are so eager to learn how to teach and to begin teaching but to earn a master’s degree you have to go through some preliminary stuff first. Janet said when I take my credential classes I will learn how to teach. I have already seen this to be true in my second class of my program that is for my credentials. I feel I am starting to learn how to teach.


Being able to volunteer in a kindergarten classroom has given me so much insight into running a classroom and becoming a teacher. I am essentially already teaching children with the direction of a teacher. When I get home from volunteering, I write down the lesson plans and classroom management techniques that I liked and found helpful in my daily planner. This way when I become a teacher, I will be able to look back at these to help me in my own classroom. The teacher I volunteer for, Tina, along with other teachers at that school have become major resources to me. I am able to talk to them about the pros and cons of private school, my master’s program, and hacks for teaching. I was worried about being thrown blind into a classroom during my first year of teaching but Tina eased my worries about this. She said if I chose to teach in a public school then I will have a mentor teacher who is experienced in teaching the same grade as me. I will also have meetings with the other first year teachers and with the same teachers of my grade. Tina said that teachers who teach the same grade in public school are able to divide the lesson plan work amongst subjects and share each other’s lesson plans in their own classes. This conversation with her gave me so much knowledge that I was previously unaware of and made me more confident in becoming a teacher. It also made me decide that I wanted to teach in public school.


I still have doubt from time to time about how I will be able to run my own classroom. But the most important thing I have learned from this part of my teacher journey is how important it is to have resources and connections to a community of teachers. I am so lucky to have a boyfriend whose mom is an amazing elementary school teacher. And I am also so thankful USF gives us 40% off tuition for volunteering at a Catholic school because that opportunity has given me access to so many resources and insight into teaching. In my current class, we are working on a teacher toolbox of helpful websites for teaching. I have realized that in this part of my teacher journey I am creating an even bigger teacher toolbox of my own with literal teachers to connect with, lesson plan ideas, and the content I am learning in my grad school classes. The plethora of resources I have gained since volunteering and starting my MAT/credentials program has eased my worries of becoming a teacher as I know I will have many tools to help me when I start out.