First-year teachers reflect on classroom experiences before Christmas Break

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- Teachers and students alike look forward to Christmas Break; but, for first-year teachers, the break is a special time to reflect on their earliest months in the classroom and regroup for the rest of the school year.

Alongside their students, first-year teachers learn a thing or two inside the classroom.

Haley Milton is a first-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School in the North Platte Public School District.

During her first year of teaching, Milton said that she has learned to be flexible and adapt to her students' needs.

Milton said that each child is unique and has a different way of learning.

"They've just taught me that learning looks and sounds differently for everybody," Milton explained "Every student is absolutely different and unique, but every student is capable of learning."

Milton's first year as a teacher has been a whirlwind of emotion, but she's excited for everything she will teach her students when they return to class after the New Year.

Lane Swedberg is a sixth-grade math teacher at Madison Middle School.

From grading papers to interacting with students, Swedberg said that each day is an adventure.

His students give the class an A+.

Jada Rubalcaba, a sixth-grade student, said that she has learned about one of her favorite subjects.

"He helps us a lot," Rubalcaba noted, as she and her classmates learned about calculating the price of sales tax.

Swedberg teaches 115 students and said that building relationships with each and every student is the best parts of the job.

"I feel like their my own kids because you care so much about their success and their development," Swedberg said.

Between extracurricular activities, grading papers, and planning classroom activities, Swedberg found the key to success.

"With middle-school students, you just have to show them that you care and that you greatly desire for them to improve," Swedberg said.

While math is not always an easy subject for his students to learn, he said that the battle of teaching a tricky subject is worth every minute

"You just kind of have to find an 'Aha Moment' where their eyes light up and they're like, 'Oh my goodness! I can do this!' and they're just excited that they've learned something," Swedberg said.

Swedberg said that these moments make his day, week, and career as a teacher.

Both Milton and Swedberg said that they are excited to start Christmas Break next week, but they are even more excited to see how the school year continues.