Student Teaching

A day off for Good Friday allows me to write a bit about my current experience as a student teacher this spring. Some background first. My last step in my Masters program is a full-time field experience working in a teacher’s classroom for almost 4 months. I started with observing my teacher’s classes and slowly started taking over lessons. For the past 3 weeks I have taught 3 of his 5 periods. In a few weeks I will take over all 5 and teach them for the final month. I get officially observed by a professor from my university this time and am filling out a excruciatingly thorough form for the state providing “evidence” that I know what I am doing. Baring any set backs, I am due to graduate with my Masters and teaching license on May 18th. Pretty exciting.

First thought. No matter how much time you spend in a classroom, the first time you teach to a new group of students is nerve-wracking. The first lesson I taught a couple months ago went fine but regardless, 15 minutes in I realized my plan was not as good as I had hoped and I could not stop sweating. In February. Things have gone smoothly since but this reiterates my second point.

Teaching, even when it isn’t hard is never simple or easy. Now I do not want to be that guy who waxes on and on about how hard teachers work and how selfless we are and how big my future pension will be because I deserve it. But I am working. Granted my official “work day” is under 7 hours but as I have taught more I have watched my desk grow in piles of paper and attempted (and failed) organization schemes. How many piles do I need before I reach paper-usage nirvana? In any case here is my point. I don’t have the luxury of posting status updates about how I wish it was Friday already. I cannot zone out for 15 minutes because the lesson plan I created is boring even me. I am in front of skeptical young person who are complicated, diverse, disengaged and distracted. When I stand up in the front of class I have to perform and my performance better have some substance because they will call me out (mentally or otherwise) if I do not. Genuine teaching is the real deal and we should not let politicians or friends or society say otherwise.

Finally, things are going really well. I am pretty busy. I am trying to lesson plan, test create, grade work and get to know kids everyday. The “get to know kids” part is by far the best and being in a classroom everyday is a pretty fun experience. They can be funny and entertaining and sometimes even annoying and petty but bottom-line working with young people is totally worth it. I look forward to having my own classroom hopefully in the fall. Let the ridiculous craziness of this career begin and begin soon.  


One thought on “Student Teaching

  1. Congratulations! I remember standing there right next to you as we taught those very first lessons in South Africa. After just a few weeks I remember you saying that you wanted to teach for real, that you didn’t want to stop after you left South Africa. And kudos to you for keeping the dream alive. It’s way too easy to get side-tracked nowadays and I’m glad you stayed the course. Are you teaching history? What grades? Email me.

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