Dec 10, 2012: Things I learned from Student Teaching

student teacher
“You can’t scare me, I’m a student teacher!”

To start off, here’s an excerpt from the website that knows it all about student teaching:

Wikipedia:

The student teacher is usually placed in a neighboring or participating school district. The student teacher is monitored by the cooperating teacher from the district, as well as a supervisor through the college. The supervisor acts as a liaison between the cooperating teacher and the head of the college’s student teaching department.

The student teacher essentially shadows the cooperating teacher for about one week, eventually gaining more responsibility in teaching the class as the days and weeks progress. Eventually, the student teacher will assume most of the teaching responsibilities for the class including class management, lesson planning, assessment, and grading.

I was required to be at a school in my area for 4 months total. Every weekday I got up at 6am and didn’t leave the school till around 3pm. Each night I slept at around 12 or 1am – resulting in an average sleep cycle of 4 or 5 hours a night for 3 months.

During these 4 months I was required to “take over” the class fro 3 weeks – become the teacher basically. What I’ve discovered about myself has astonished me in some ways and have confirmed my views about myself in others. Here’s a shortlist:

Some things that I’ve learned along the way:

Professionally: 

1. If you are an adult, other adults and students will expect, treat you, and hold you accountable as “an adult”. Meaning that if your behavior is not “mature enough”, other adults (and students in the case of a school) will pick up on it and will give you the appropriate amount of behavior.

2. Your emotional maturity directly influences your professional demeanor in front of your peers and “underlings” – in this case students. There is no way around it.

3. In a professional environment, it is better to say nothing at all than to say something that could be potentially damaging.

4. Relations mean everything – the relationship between a co-worker/peer will always take precedent over your skill.

5. I wasn’t outspoken or proactive in obtaining in establishing contacts and connections with my peers. Even now as I’m typing this I’m realizing what I’ve forgotten to do.

6. Occupations such as these require you to be your “mature best” at all times. Your “personal best” would be another way of putting it. It’s not bad, if anything I’m more mature because I had to do this, but just something I’d like to point out.

Personally:

1. I’m not as mature as I had thought I was. I’m not talking about goofing off or doing in inappropriate stuff during inappropriate times – I’m talking about communicating with your peers in professional and personal situations. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m “an adult” (whatever that means) yet, but at this point I feel that teaching is contrary to who I need to be.

2. I’ve come to realize and remember just how much I hated the classroom. Can’t stand it! Not that academics are needed in a child’s upbringing, but just the fact that you’re in a room 6+ hours a day makes me meek, uninspired, and dull.

3. Just because I like kids doesn’t mean I can teach – especially when it comes to the massive amount of preparation for each day.

4. I’m an extremely heavy kinesthetic learner, with visual as a close number 2. While this doesn’t automatically omit me as a teacher – this combined with my immaturity makes me a “fish out of water” in a classroom

5. I am extremely forgetful when dealing with a lot of information at once – such as dealing with 5 different subjects at once. Obviously this is detrimental as an elementary school teacher.

6. I’m an active kid; an active person. I fall asleep at the desk, in the classroom  because I’m unmotivated because the environment is too slow for my 200 mph (322 kmh) brain. My body demands that I run at least 3 miles a day just so that my blood is kept fresh, running, and that I stay off my ass. Just sitting in the library now typing this up makes sleepy (might also because I ate a bowl full of ramen a hour before).

~

In general being a teacher is not who I am. With some foresight, I will probably have to do some teaching before I take part in my real job, but now I am seriously considering a career change.

In the end of it all, I will say that I have gain more personal change than I did professionally. It’s sad, but it was what I really wanted in the end. I guess it was cold for me to utilize this internship as such, but as I mentioned in the beginning, your professionalism is a directly influenced by your emotional maturity.

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One thought on “Dec 10, 2012: Things I learned from Student Teaching

  1. An old saying – try something once to see if you like it, twice to see if you’re mistaken and three times to see if you tire of it easily.

    Your first instincts are probably the right ones, but don’t be hasty to reach a decision. Explore all of your options.

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