A welcome to new students from senior Jaya Parail

Welcome to the first week of classes at the IU School of Education! From this point on, you get to develop as a professional, and you are on your way to becoming an educator.

There is so much student interaction built into this program. Your field experiences and field placements are going to change the game. In-class instruction is super valuable; there are some things like theory that you need to learn in a classroom. But there is nothing like getting to see it up close. Don’t take it for granted. A lot of education majors only get to see the classroom when they’re juniors or seniors, but some of you will start getting student experience this semester.

The School of Education just loves this field. Everyone in this building cares so much, and it’s so special to be in a building full of people who share your passion. We’re the ones who aren’t afraid to care, and everyone in this building is the same. Caring is cool here! And it’s awesome! We may all have different ideas about how things should be done or how the world works but at the end of the day, we all care deeply about students, and that is a really cool place to be.

Here is my advice for you:

  • Advocate for yourselves! The same way that I know many of you want to teach your future students how to advocate for themselves, you should do the same! This is a great place to practice what you preach because you’re still students. Ask questions and advocate for your learning! If you’re not learning what you want to be learning, just ask your professors questions because I promise they want you to take part in your own education.
  • Work hard. Honor yourself by committing to this work. Spend time thinking about what ideas and values you want to form your classroom. Be intentional about developing your teaching philosophy. These things matter, and they’re worth the work. Invest in your growth as an educator, and pursue learning the way you want your future students to.
  • Lean into the uncomfortable. It’s so cheesy, but it’s so true. Teaching takes a lot of practice and it’s going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing sometimes. I still have moments where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. But that’s okay! That’s part of it. The best thing you can do for yourself is just say this: this is hard, I feel overwhelmed, but this is good, and this is a gift. I promise you can do this. 

Finally, let me leave you with some encouragement: this is such a noble field. Teaching is hard, and we don’t get enough credit for that. This field is full of joy and it’s so fulfilling; I have no doubt that you’re going to love it. You’ll hear a lot of opinions about teaching in the next few years but hold fast to your passion. It’ll carry you through, and if you remember why you’re doing this, you will soar. The School of Ed is the best place to be, and you are in perfect shape for the next four years.

So have fun, and go teach.