Friday, May 11, 2007

My MTC Experience

Mississippi in the spring. That is the best way to describe my MTC experience. Everyone knows that spring in Mississippi is highly unpredictable. It is highly abnormal and subject to change at any moment. Most people who move to the Magnolia State find it quite annoying and those of us who have been here all our lives find nothing wrong with it. I think that this has been the case during my experience with Teacher Corps. Although, I can’t say that my experience has been all negative. I also can’t say that it has been the most positive. What I can say is that the experienced has caused me to grow in ways that I never thought possible. Like I said, MTC is just like Mississippi in the spring.

Cloudy days…
There were many times during this program when I felt that it was not for me. The unpredictability of the past two years has often been mind boggling. On many occasions I felt the intense need to leave the program and pursue other more stable interests. And as with any Mississippi spring, the sun would peek its little head in the form of Dr. Mullins saying “thank you” in that sincere way that he does or Dr. Monroe saying, “I know its stupid, but its what Ben wants so let’s do it” and I would remember that the actual role that MTC played in what I was trying to do was minor and therefore needed not to be stressed about.

During the past two years, the changes that we have undergone have been nerve-wracking. The lost lesson plans, the computer class with the invisible teacher, the sudden and unexpected assignments caused my cohorts and I much distress. The arguments and survey comments which ensued caused our instructors a great deal of pain. Some of us were lost during the struggles and some were forever turned against the program which we signed up to complete. I have to believe, however, that what we encountered and fought for will have a larger impact on the program as a whole.

Light Showers…
The newly instituted MTC Summer School was not a well received change. The whole idea of giving another summer to teaching after a year of struggling just did not bode well. Interestingly, the summer school went off without very much of a hitch and I must say that I enjoyed it. The possibility of motivating another group of misguided youngsters was intriguing. The school was great and I will forever love and remember my students from that experience.

I’ve made lifelong friends during the past two years. These colleagues and cohorts will forever be branded in my heart and in my spirit. I have had the opportunity to teach which is the greatest reward and a testament to my faith and belief. MTC has given me a more developed sense of courage and determination. Challenges now seem small compared to the things that I faced during this program. I am now branded with the love of education and a mindset for change.

The lightbulb that I see go off in the eyes of my students when I use some neat little trick that Dr. Monroe taught me or the impressed look that I get when someone sees my portfolio online is enough to make it all worth it. I have blossomed as a result of MTC. I am a better teacher with more resources than when I began the program. I am more studious and ambitious. Not only have I blossomed, but so have the people around me and I have to believe that this is because of the change the MTC caused in me. The growth that I experienced made me a better person and that affected the people around me.

Like Mississippi in the spring, MTC has not been simple. It has worked my nerves and baited my frustrations. However, I realize that one day I will look back on this experience with a great appreciation for what I gained. I know that I have impacted the lives of students, teachers and my fellow MTCers and that is what really matters. I believe that God is driving my life and his purpose may not be ever present to me, but still is ever present. MTC was simply a vessel he used to help me reach another level in my professional and spiritual growth.

I must note that this blog is not a reflection of my teaching experience. Although there are some references to such, this essay asked me to respond specifically about my MTC experience and the two things have been very different.

I wish the program the best of success in the future. I truly hope that the suggestions that my classmates and I made are helpful and will be used to better the program. Good luck and God Bless.

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