From building relationships to navigating the ins-and outs of a new job, the first year of a career can be a stressful and confusing time. We are asking recent alumni entering the first year of their career to tell us their goals, worries, and more. Then we will check back with them at the end of the year. Meet Allie Vanneman, who graduated in 2021 with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.
Where are you working and what grade are you teaching?
I am working at a charter school called KIPP Bloom Primary in Chicago, Illinois and teaching 2nd grade!
What are you most excited for?
I'm most excited to start the year and meet my students! I loved student teaching in 6th grade, but am very excited to be back in a primary grade. I am also excited for the professional development opportunities that my school administration leads. The 3 weeks leading up to the school year are set aside for PD and preparation and I'm excited to grow as an educator during this time.
What are you most nervous about?
Making sure my students meet the benchmarks and goals they need to, while also helping to fill in areas they may have missed out on during virtual instruction. My school has strong learning goals for students this year and I know it will take a lot of intentional lesson planning and instruction to help my students meet them.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
Helping my students balance the return to school for 5 days of in-person learning. I know my students have gone through a lot in the last year and may be hesitant about returning to school full time. I want to create a classroom environment that prioritizes their learning and mental health as they make this transition.
What do you feel most prepared for? Least prepared for?
I feel most prepared for teaching English language arts and creating a positive learning environment. My reading practicum experience gave me useful practice in literacy instruction and my student teaching experience taught me the importance of having a classroom where students are excited to learn. I feel least prepared for teaching math since I haven't had the opportunity to teach math in a primary grade yet!
Finally, what are your biggest goals or hopes for your first year of teaching?
My biggest hope is that I help my students find joy in learning and create a classroom environment that my students are excited to return to each day. I want each student who walks through my door to know how valued and supported they are. I hope each of my students realizes the amazing potential they have as a scholar and a leader!