The Adventures of Ms. Gabi

In my last semester at college, I’m finally making good on my childhood dream: teaching elementary school.

It was instantaneous. Ever since I started school myself, I wanted to become a teacher. “1st or 2nd grade,” I told everyone with confidence. “I’ll be a teacher and an author.”

I’m not sure precisely when or why my plans changed. But somehow, as I approached adulthood, I found ways to nurture my passion for writing while my desire to teach fell to the wayside.


My volunteer nametag; but that’s “Miss” Gabi to you. Photo by Gabrielle Nygaard

One thing led to another, and now I’m set to graduate with a B.A. in Mass Communication. Though I never gave my interest in education the attention it deserved, I did manage to sneak in some teaching experience as a tutor and writing assistant at college. And maybe it seems like too little too late, but I’m taking Education 150 in my final semester at Linfield.

A major component of the course is student aiding at an elementary school. So, I do have that 2nd grade class I always said I would: as Ms. Gabi, the aide.

Today, I arrived to class just in time for a lock-down drill. As I scrunched under a too-small table, I was both impressed and chilled by how seriously the otherwise rambunctious kids treated it, quietly waiting for the all-clear signal. Their reverent silence rattled me. At their age, I remember my own classmates noisily shaking the legs of their desks and chatting away during such practice runs. These things don’t actually happen here, we thought, the same with earthquakes in Oregon; the drills were just for show, or for fun, even.

These days, the danger seems all too real. Has the world really changed so much, or was I just blissfully ignorant, a luxury that my 2nd graders don’t have, I wondered?

But soon class resumed, and the mood lightened. After some math and art, I took the kids outside and supervised them in planting bean sprouts in paper cups. It was my first attempt at corralling the restless 8-year-olds solo. Thankfully, there were no (successful) escapees, and only a brief scuffle over the bag of potting soil.

In future posts, I hope to share more of my experiences and reflections from my time with Mrs. Olson’s class. I’m excited to see what my kids and mentor have to teach me. To be continued~


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