I have been student teaching at a private school for the past nine weeks. This placement was arranged by my course advisor, who was kind enough to take into consideration how long my commute would be. It was up to my cooperating teacher and me to discuss my schedule. Due to my courses, this turned out to be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8:30 AM to 3:20PM – basically the entire school day.
My cooperating teacher was very eager to have me actively teaching, and I found myself at the helm of a descriptive writing unit. It was wonderful to help the students create their own versions of Little Red Riding Hood, and see them develop from web graphs to multiple paragraphs.
In my student teaching placement, I interacted with many fine additions to my realm of influence everyday. My cooperating teacher has a wealth of knowledge, not only in terms of this private school, but also the public school system, where she previously taught. She has a contagious, enthusiastic approach to teaching, and a strong and versatile character that has carried her through both school systems, and allows her to field anything that springs up during a school day.
There is so much to learn from in a placement beyond the actual curriculum. Relationships between teachers and other professionals in the building afford insight into how much work goes into keeping a school functioning healthily for the benefit of the students. I love to see great teachers succeeding in relating their lesson content, learning from each other and even enjoying working together!
And I can’t forget the kids. They are first and last the inspiration and my reason for pursing education. The fifth graders I am teaching inspire me with their fresh outlooks, their curiosity, and their lighthearted nature. They remind me to lighten up and try to see things from different angles. With this experience, I discovered that I am far more comfortable standing at the front of the room than I anticipated, and I love to encourage children to think more deeply.
It’s amazing the impact you can have on a class without even realizing it. On my last day, one student bashfully said to me, in response to my departure, “Who’s gonna listen to me?” I had no idea that my moments with him, revising his writing webs and talking about vikings, actually meant more to him. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to that placement.