I must apologize (but not really). I was pouring over titles of my recent blogs, and I had to smile a little. Most of them have been completely and totally about my experience with student teaching. Writers often write from what they know–do not we all know this to be true? The next couple months of blogs will most likely be a chronicle of this wild and new experience of student teaching. Stay tuned for the ride.
Right now, we’re on week two and my cooperating teacher has been easing me into teaching, asking me to teach parts of periods. He inspires me everyday I wander into his class with how he manages to offer kindness to the kids and high expectations in the same hand. On Friday he asked if I’d like to teach an entire period the following week. Monday morning found me standing in front of a bunch of eighth graders armed with an artsy Powerpoint and Common Core strategies–the brave and wildness of a Monday.
It’s evening now, and I’m sitting at my computer as I write, gathering together all the scraps of today. Life right now may be teaching, but I’m realizing that successful teaching is more about learning than anything else. Let me explain some of these lessons:
- Learning to Reflect: The first period I taught my pacing was off. We had extra time in the period…which is a serious problem when you have twenty middle school students in an enclosed space. I knew there was an issue, so I had to reflect and fix the issue promptly for the next period.
- Learning to Take Criticism: Student teaching is funny. You go through these extremes of feeling like you own the world, because of course you’re a senior at college and know what you’re doing? Then you stand in front of a group of fourteen year olds and forget how to pronounce your name. You might think you’re a big shot, but you’re not. You have to learn to take the criticism and take it well.
- Learning Organization: I foolishly walked into student teaching without a folder to my name. Yes. I admit this. A trip to the store promptly remedied that situation.
- Learning from Students: A quote I ran across in one of my writing classes explains this, “‘Always assume,’’”, wrote Leo Strauss, to the teacher “that there is one silent student in your class who is by far superior to you in head and in heart.”-M. Shaugnessy. This is entirely true. I am shocked by the “head” and “heart” of many of these eighth graders.
These are some of the many lessons I’m learning through student teaching. Stay tuned for more of the brave and wild, my friends.