Thursday, December 13, 2012


Oh man, to see the almost non-existent light at the end of the tunnel is bitter sweet! This semester was soul draining, and it’s sad that my time at a community college did not prepare me whatsoever for what UMD had in store for me!

Aside from all the never-ending hours of work I had to do for my classes, I am sad to see some of them finish, this class being one of themL. Making friends (and taking courses with old ones), learning valuable lessons (on how not to plagiarize!) and reading a dozen beyond amazing slash words-can’t-describe type of books was unforgettable!

Unfortunately, I have to start with the fact that this class helped me to realize that I am not right for teaching. Aside from my vast fear of public speaking, even if it is just ten students, I had to eventually come to terms with that. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher since I was little, and it was kind of assumed that I would just go for it, which I sort of did, but as the time passed and my experience increased, I just kept getting these “WHAT am I doing here” warning flags in my head. Fortunately, I will still be pursuing a major in English, since I will never stop loving literature of all sorts, and I am excited to see what I can get out of all the classes UMD has to offer. I also am making plans (slash goals) to attend grad school for Higher Education. Although I do not want to be in front of a classroom full of testosterone filled teens ready to pounce on me, I still do want to help out students, inspire them and guide them to what they want to do with their lives, so I am looking into advising for my career. I think this would be very suitable for me, and I think I will be very happy in that field.

Now, for all the books we read in class… I’m not even sure where to start! Of course being able to reread some of the high school and middle school classics that I wasn’t able to (or didn’t care to) appreciate in school was awesome. I loved being able to cry along and empathize with the characters of The Outsiders, Night, and The Catcher in the Rye. I also loved being opened to new classics that I never had a chance to read, like To Kill a Mockingbird, which offered endless themes and valuable lessons to take away with me once I was finished. I also liked reading these books and then watching their movie counterparts, and comparing the two and noting all the differences and valuable aspects that films don’t touch on that are read in the books. It reconfirmed the fact that literature can be so eye opening and reading allows you to pick up on all the little things that movies don’t (or can’t) fit in. I also enjoyed reading the different types of genres, specifically graphic novels, which my high school teachers would have never even considered using. Not only were Diary of a Part-time Indian and Persepolis two amazing books, but the visual images helped everything come together and make it whole, it helped me to see events and scenes in the perspective of the author and how they wanted it to be portrayed. Not only did these two books offer images, but they also touched on cultures and ethnicities that I had never been exposed to. They were such amazing, heart-touching stories and it absolutely broke my heart to read some of the things that go on in other people’s lives and other parts of the world. These two books are perfect for adolescents because it would help to bring them down from their often self-centered pedestals and teach them to empathize, care and understand other cultures and people, as well as allow them to appreciate what and who they have in their lives. Speaking of cultures, I liked rereading Buried Onions, because it reminded me of Part-time Indian, in how they live in low income areas and how they didn’t have inspiring people in their lives to root for them, but rather numerous aspects that constantly tried to pull them into the wrong direction. It helps you get a touch of reality reading about the deaths and addictions some people have to experience, but it’s nice to read about those characters who do try to break through the norm and from what is expected of them, even when everyone around them is a negative influence, it makes them that much stronger to me. It makes me want to cry just thinking of them! (I’m a crybaby by the way).

Another thing I enjoyed was learning about all the lenses. I was taught by a bunch of strict, by the book, there-is-only-one-right-opinion-and-it’s-my-opinion type of teachers. Although I passed all these classes with flying colors, I never really got anything out of them other than what we were told to memorize, and unfortunately, none of those teachers were inspiring to me. What I loved about this class and the texts we had were that they allow you to think not outside of the box, but like there is no box. They allow students who are often shooed away by their teachers to bring in opinions and perspectives that added value to the texts and class discussions. Things are never one-sided, but they are often told one-sided, and this class helped us to stray from that notion. All the different lenses that we used and learned about made me appreciate literature about a bazillion times more than I had already did. It just opened my eyes to so many different possibilities and ways to interpret texts and it made me so much more confident in my work to not have Megan and Lisa tell me that what I thought didn’t matter or was wrong. I think these lenses were probably the most valuable set of things that I can take away from this course.

Another thing I really enjoyed was how close-knit our class was, from our lectures, discussions, even down to the scolding, everything was of value to me. I loved that it was barely a dozen of us in the room, yet our voices and opinions were so powerful and resulted in such amazing, sometimes overwhelming, discussions and debates that further resulted in me running home to write up a blog post. I loved working in groups, in chats and in literature circles with everyone and I am truly going to miss every single one of them. Everyone was so supportive and positive towards one another, something I have never experienced in other classes, or even with many people period. It is so wonderful to know that these classmates of mine will be leading a classroom in the future, and I will definitely be hunting them down and distributing my offspring to each one of them!

It’s sad to see everyone go and I am truly thankful for this class and all the help that Megan and Lisa have provided for us. I wish everyone happy holidays and that we please all keep in touch! Hit a sister up sometime! J


Mabelyn Mijangos

1 comment:

  1. Mabelyn, Wow, thanks for this thoughtful reflection. You've had some pretty profound realizations, including your re-thinking becoming a teacher. I confess, I'm sorry to hear it, especially because teaching is something you've always wanted to do. I know that teaching is a calling, and if you feel that call I don't think you should ignore it (nor should one class discourage you). Becoming a good teacher is a lifelong process-- you can't learn it in one semester! That said, there are lots of different careers that have elements of teaching but that don't necessarily require you to stand in front of a room of people (adolescents no less). You can tutor, work in an education-oriented non-profit, work for a school district as a curriculum specialist, work for the government... it's not necessarily an either/or proposition.

    I was also sorry to hear that community college did not provide you with the guidance that you needed. As a former community college teacher, I'm very much pro-community college! I'd be curious: what do you wish you'd known?

    I wish you the best with your studies, and of course, with your reading.