By Kelly Korek – As I sit here writing this, the first quarter is coming to a close at my school. With this comes a flurry of grades being put into the grade book, preparations being made for the upcoming parent teacher conferences, and most importantly the knowledge that I am already halfway through my student teaching experience. Looking back at the last two months, there are many valuable experiences I have had and lessons I’ve learned thus far.
The Kids are Everything – I knew this before student teaching but the idea has become even more important to me as I have been working with them each day. My students are the reason I am excited to come to school and I love every conversation, lesson, or experience I have with them. I’ve learned so much from them – they are the real teachers.
You Will Be Learning Too – Naturally this one should be assumed as well. After all, they don’t call us student teachers for nothing. But what I’ve realized is that this goes beyond just learning how to be a good teacher. I have learned new techniques and math skills just by watching my cooperating teacher or even by seeing how my students tackle a problem. There have been times that I’ve been learning right alongside my students and I absolutely love it – I am constantly reminded that it is okay not to know everything all the time.
It May Make Your Schedule Crazy, But Getting Involved is Fun – Right off the bat I got in contact with the theater teacher and am now one of the assistant directors for the fall play. Sure it means that I have had some 14-hour days at school that have left me tired and stressed out the next day. But getting to share my passion of theater and Shakespeare with my students is worth each extra minute I stay here
Student Teaching Wins for Field Placements – Actually getting to see your kids every day? Knowing that you can finish up a lesson the next day if you don’t quite make it through all the material? Having the chance to build really strong relationships with each of your students throughout the semester? Yeah – nothing against my past field placements, but this one takes the cake.
I Really Am Starting to Think Like a Teacher – In the pre-calculus classes, we keep track of what percentage of students completed their homework each night on the side board. Every day, my cooperating teacher and I rejoice at the high percentages and nurse our heartaches on the low nights (I’m talking to you, class that only had 25%). I had no idea that something as simple as kids doing homework could get me so excited, but it really does. It must be a teacher thing.
I’m Doing What I’m Meant to Do – Yes, the last two months have been hard, and I know that things are only going to get harder once I take over my full teaching load on Monday. But when I have a student stop me in the hall to tell me he caught up on all his homework so he is ready to retake his test, or when a student runs into my room to tell me what she did with her grandfather the night before, suddenly it is all worth it. I love what I’m doing and I cannot wait to see what the next two months bring.