66 Stick Figures: My Support System

imagesBy Jessica Burkard — Student teaching is exhausting. How many times have you heard that statement before?

Not enough.

Despite being exhausted every day, I sit here now thinking about how much I have already grown as a teacher. I think about all of the things that have added to my growth as a teacher and I know that the one I want to talk about most is my support system.

Let me just paint a picture for you to concretely remind all of you the amount of people in a support system. So start drawing stick figures: 1 mom, 1 dad, 1 brother, 1 sister, 1 boyfriend, 16 close friends, 4 grandparents, 5 aunts, 6 uncles, 14 cousins, 1 cooperating teacher, 3 professors, and 12 other student teachers. Let’s just add that up real quick: 66 stick figures. That’s my support system.

Now granted, I don’t spend time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on a regular basis, but I do account for them since I know they support me. So here’s my main point of this blog post:

Make time and appreciate your support system.
During my time as a student teacher so far, I’ve learned a lot about how to become a good teacher. What I did not expect to learn was the importance of making time for people closest to you. It seems like common sense until you get into my shoes where you leave your apartment at 6:40 am and don’t return until somewhere between 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm. The best way I’ve found to make it all work is to set aside time each week for 1 dinner with a friend or family and spend my weekends to my significant other. Not everyone is going to have that same schedule as I do, but I would encourage you to give up two dinners per week to spend with someone because in all honesty, they will be the ones to push you through student teaching.

Additionally, don’t forget to lean on your fellow student teachers because they will become some of your best friends throughout the entirety of your semester. I know us education majors are already close, but just wait until you teach everyday and need to vent to someone who understands everyday. You will learn to fully appreciate your peers because they know how exactly to help you through a lesson because they’re either tried and failed or tried and succeeded. Use them as not only a strength and source of knowledge but also a shoulder to cry on because believe me, you will.

Making time for your support systems may not seem like one of the most important aspects of student teaching, but I guarantee you it is. To conclude, I dedicate this post to my support system since they are the ones who remind me to feel proud of what I do. Thank you mom, dad, Sami, Cody, Tony, Lauren, Erin, Lisa, and all others who are always there for me. I couldn’t ask for more than all of you.

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