This semester I have a student teacher for the first time in a few years. I had forgotten what it is like to have another adult in the classroom with me. Someone to share a look with, a silent giggle when one of the kiddos say something off the wall, and someone to back me up when a kiddo wants to whine about the lesson!
My student teacher this year is a newly married, incredibly insightful and sweet young girl. The kind of girl you wish your college aged son would date (I’ve told him to hang out at the education department on campus). She is in her last semester of an Early Childhood degree, and has fit in from the very first day.
I have heard horror stories about student teachers, and I have had one that after spending 12 weeks with her; thought she was way to “dingy” to be a teacher (and we teachers are pretty dingy). I have also had student teachers and students that have done observation in my class that are awesome teachers today. It is always nice to think I may have had some part in that.
I could tell from the moment she entered our classroom that Susan is “teacher” material. She fit in with an ease and confidence that kid’s sense in an instant. And after having her in our family for the last 4 weeks, we say daily it is going WAY too fast for all of us.
I enjoy having a student teacher for many reasons. I hope that spending time in my classroom will help prepare them for their career. I hope that they see that although the college has done their best to prepare them, there is no amount of classroom instruction that can prepare you for a child that throws himself on the floor in a fit because they don’t know how to “read” (of course he doesn’t we’re just learning!) Or a child that comes to school hungry and tired because they have no food or heat at their home. Or the child that decides the best place to wipe his runny nose is on your pant leg as you read them a story. Nor can it prepare you for IEP’s, faculty conflicts, faculty differences, faculty family, parents, and non-school and school related issues that take up precious time and energy. I hope that they learn from me that teaching is a 365 day job. Because no matter how you try not to, you are continually thinking about teaching, your class, and your kids. I want them to know if something doesn’t work it’s not the end of the world, reflect, reevaluate, and retry. And I hope they see that they are as much a learner as the children they are teaching.
These are just some of the reasons I enjoy having a student teacher. But with Susan I feel it is going to be more. I listen as she explains the crazy things the professors expect these young teachers-to –be accomplish while they student teach, and give her the assurance that it will not be like that in the real world. I take pleasure in watching her teach and interact with the kiddos. I benefit from watching and listening to the techniques and teaching strategies she brings with her, as much as the kids do. I am watching her grow and blossom before my eyes; much like my kiddos, but on a grander-faster scale. I like that she is willing to share her teaching ideas and philosophy, as much as she is willing to listen to mine, and not judge but file in her gamut of information for future examination.
Having a student teacher like Susan reminds me of why I wanted to be a teacher, why I love teaching today, and why I am thinking of shooting for higher goals in my own career.
The only problem I see of having Susan for my teaching partner is that it is going entirely TOO fast, and snow days!