Friday, December 13, 2013


~Guest Blog Post by Eliza Chandler, CERRA Program Facilitator

Region Five has been alive and well this semester, collaborating on group projects, participating in service learning, and planning for the future. I’ve immensely enjoyed my time in our Teacher Cadet classrooms and have most enjoyed my “Beginnings” project.

Personally, I’m a beginnings girl – I enjoy that the way we live our lives often gives us a chance to begin again, to redirect, to start onto a new path. Like most, I embrace the beginning of a new year. But I also celebrate the start of a new month or even a new week. As a momma, I embrace the vigor my daughter brings to each new thing she learns and tackles. Her first grade mind bubbles every day and reminds me to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and, often, to begin again.

As a teacher, I enjoyed opening a new school year – such energy when the halls are filled again and notebooks are new and pencils sharp. I liked introducing a new novel, a new unit of study and encouraged my students to embrace each new activity with renewed creativity and a little “start over.” We all know how important a chance to begin again can be.

While visiting sites and experiencing college days this fall, I decided to do a little “Beginnings” project.  I asked cadets all over Region Five to share their advice for first grades just entering the world of education. Some shared interview-style; others wrote their advice down on index cards. I’ve gathered quite a bit of advice ranging from the humorous to the insightful, the silly to the thought-provoking.

What an adventure!

And here’s the best part; here is why I started this project: the advice I’ve gathered is truly not just for first graders. Almost every single piece of advice the seniors and juniors have given me while thinking about the happy first graders just starting out is applicable to their lives as well. What a glorious thing to be reminded – we are never too old, too grown, or too stuck to embrace a new beginning! We do not have to be who we are or do what we do on any tomorrow to come.

So as you approach exams and college applications, financial aid and scholarships; as you wait for the mail or email or phone call; as you endure tryouts and auditions; as you plan for the prom and celebrate birthdays, remember that you are in charge of your beginnings. You get a say in all of your tomorrows. Listen to your heart and the advice you gave to a younger crowd and remember that new beginnings are everywhere.

Advice to First Graders from the Teacher Cadets of Region Five

Listen to your teachers – they really do know a lot.
Have fun in school; it’s fun to learn even when it’s hard.
Put your mind to work and even if things don’t make sense today, they soon will.
Enjoy school – one day it will be over.
Don’t give up, especially on yourself.
Try new things.
Do your best and don’t compare yourself to everyone else. You are you, not them.
Be your number one fan.
Smile – it’s the easiest way to make friends.
Be confident as you try new things.   You’ll find new things you like to do and stuff you’re good
Share your crayons and paper; others will share with you, too.
Allow change in your life and accept differences. You never know where it will lead and who
   you’ll meet.
Be kind. No one likes mean people.
Don’t be slack – in school or any part of life. Do what you say you’ll do and demand the same of
Love who you are and remember to be your own friend first.
Learn to tell time so you can always be early not late.
Ask grown-ups for help – and keep asking until someone helps you.
Tie your shoes in double knots so you don’t trip.
Just because someone does something better than you doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough.
It’s ok to cry but try not to wet your pants.
Don’t take things you love to school or you might lose them.
Don’t lie; you’ll usually get caught.
You don’t have to be good at everything now; you have lots of time to grow.
It’s ok if your socks don’t match; people don’t really notice.
Wash your hands. A lot.
Believe – in yourself and your friends, in unicorns and fairies, in what makes you happy. Just

West Ashley High Teacher Cadets

Ashley Ridge High Teacher Cadets