IU freshmen aren’t the only ones starting a new adventure this semester – recent School of Education graduates also begin their journeys as first-year teachers. We will be profiling these alumni as they begin a career of changing lives through teaching. This profile is written by Alexis Ball, a second-grade teacher at Stony Creek Elementary in Noblesville, Indiana.
I am currently a second-grade teacher at Stony Creek Elementary within the Noblesville Schools. I have the best mentor, grade level team, principal, and staff members. I am honestly so thankful for all of them! We started August 1 and since then I have loved every minute of it. Sure, there are ups and downs, victories and learning moments, but all in all, I have grown so much as an educator and I cannot wait to see how this year continues to shape me.
In terms of how I imagined teaching verses the reality of teaching, it isn’t that much different. There are “outside” of the classroom tasks that I did not know how to do at first, like the importance of making sure a student gets on the right bus or knowing the ins and outs of a new school. Besides that, the IU School of Education did a wonderful job preparing me. Even only a few weeks into the school year, I have used ideas and concepts that I learned through my teaching program. Along with that, I can honestly say that my student teaching placement was not only the most beneficial part of my time within the education program, but also a huge part in solidifying my love of teaching. I could not have asked for a better host teacher and team. She was a mentor in all aspects and I am so thankful for all her help. I would not be where I am today without her!
Why I teach is such a hard question to answer. I could list off all my students and the fact that they already have a piece of my heart or I could explain how I think it is my purpose in life to make a difference in a child’s life. I could talk about the importance of education and finding each student’s passion or I could explain how much I love to see the “light bulb moment” go off in a student’s eyes. Or I could simply say “if not me, who? If not now, when?” Teaching, to me, is not just a job, it is a way of life.
I grew up with two parents as teachers. I saw how much they cared for their students. They celebrated their successes and went above and beyond for their classes. I still have people come up to me and say, “WOW! Your mom and dad were my favorite teachers!” or “Mrs. And Mr. Ball were the greatest!” Growing up and seeing the impact that they had, it was clear that teaching was an avenue I should explore. I took a cadet teaching class in high school and from there, everything clicked. I felt so natural in front of a first-grade class. Working with students and planning how to help them learn made me so excited about each time I was able to work in their classroom. After high school, I was a direct admit into the School of Education elementary education program! Throughout my time at IU, I was so fortunate to learn and grow in such an incredible education program alongside wonderful pre-service teachers that have become some of my best friends.
Besides helping students learn math, reading, writing, etc., my biggest goal for the year is to create a classroom family and a safe and welcoming classroom. Our school’s overall theme this year is “family,” and in my classroom specifically, our theme is “kindness.” As a class, we have read about how to be kind as well as brainstormed ways to show kindness in our daily lives. I think it is so crucial for students to not only learn academics, but also learn how to be an active and genuine part of society. I am so lucky to be working in a school that supports my passion and as well as focusing on how our school is family that cares for one another.